DON'T buy face masks unless you have COVID-19! What you should really buy and do

  • The U.S. surgeon general implored Americans on Twitter NOT to buy face masks unless you're a health care worker or actually have COVID-19.

    The U.S. surgeon general implored Americans on Twitter NOT to buy face masks unless you're a health care worker or actually have COVID-19. Associated Press

Daily Herald staff
Updated 3/4/2020 6:19 AM

Federal authorities say in preparing for a possible coronavirus outbreak, people should have a two-week supply of food and water -- not corner the market on canned foods and toilet paper.

Authorities suggest storing 14 days of supplies, the length of time you might be stuck at home if you were asked to self-quarantine.


Reports of local cases of COVID-19 illness, which is caused by the coronavirus, have led people to stockpile everything from hand sanitizer to face masks, leading U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams to beg Saturday on Twitter, "Seriously people -- STOP BUYING MASKS!"

"They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if health care providers can't get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!" Adams continued.

The CDC "does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19."

Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others, the CDC says. "The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility)," the agency said.

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Health officials and federal officials advise people to plan ahead by taking these steps:

• Check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.

• Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.

• Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference.

• Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.


• Be prepared if your child's school or child-care facility is temporarily dismissed

• Learn about your employer's emergency operations plan.

• Create an emergency contact list.

• Practice everyday preventive actions now. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

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