Are masks and gloves necessary when out in public?

Published: Apr. 2, 2020 at 5:18 PM EDT
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While masks or gloves are a new norm in public, some may be wondering, are they actually necessary when running out for necessities?

"I'm wearing a mask and gloves to protect myself and to protect other people," said Tina Rose, a shopper at Walmart on Wednesday.

"I feel like if I was going to catch it, if it's going to happen, it's going to happen, no sense of being scared or anything like that," said Omar Lee, another shopper.

Dr. Clay Marsh, the West Virginia Coronavirus Czar, said Wednesday during a news conference that people are asking if they should wear masks because the CDCD is saying that may be an important piece.

"Wearing a mask is really not there to keep you from getting infected through somebody coughing or sneezing," Marsh said. "It's really there to help keep you from touching your nose or mouth with your hands because the virus hibernates on surfaces and, when it gets into your nose or mouth, it starts to amplify or replicate."

Dr. Sherri Young, executive director of the Kanawha Charleston Health Department, said while there are mixed feelings about masks, there is no evidence that shows it provides any protection for people who are asymptomatic.

"And it is taking away from first responders and people who are sick, who need them, and people who are on the front lines, our first responders, nurses, doctors they need these and they're really in short supply right now," Dr. Young said.

Young also says the health department has received many complaints about masks and gloves being thrown on floors or aisles in public places, which she said creates a biohazard.

"We are working with facilities, we actually made calls to open stores and restaurants and other places where people are going into public and reminding them how to safely pick up these items because they are considered biohazard."

Dr. Young said that she personally does not wear gloves or a mask when out in public. She said as long as you keep your hands washed and sanitized, keep your 6-foot distance from others, as well as wipe down common surfaces, that's the best way to fight the virus.

"If you're touching surfaces and you're not washing your hands and keep social distancing, those things are not going to matter."

Some shoppers on Wednesday said the masks helps them maintain that social distance.

"When someone sees you with gloves and a mask, they back off so they automatically remember to stay away," said Allison Abbott.

For those who make their own face masks, doctors say they may not be as protective as medical masks but will still help protect others from your germs.