US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams not only wants people to stop buying facemasks to prevent the novel coronavirus, but warns that you actually might increase your risk of infection if facemasks are not worn properly.
“You can increase your risk of getting it by wearing a mask if you are not a health care provider,” Adams said during an interview on Fox & Friends on Monday morning.
“Folks who don’t know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus,” Adams said.
“We’re certainly seeing more spread in communities, but it’s important for folks to know that right now their risk as American citizens remains low. There are things people can do to stay safe. There are things they shouldn’t be doing and one of the things they shouldn’t be doing in the general public is going out and buying masks,” he said.
On Sunday, Adams posted on Twitter that people should stop buying masks. Rather, he tweeted that to keep yourself and those around you healthy, wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands and disinfect surfaces.
Adams also tweeted on Sunday that if the general public purchases a majority of the facemask supply and if health care providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, “it puts them and our communities at risk!”
Two dozen new cases reported over the weekend
New cases of the virus were announced in Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington state, New York and Florida on Sunday, bringing the US total to 89 as of Monday morning, up from 65 on Friday night.
The new cases prompted emergency declarations in at least two states and sparked new warnings. Schools in the Seattle area, Portland area, and Rhode Island all announced closures for cleaning this week after presumptive positive cases linked to either students or staff.
CNN’s Hollie Silverman contributed to this story