White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warned Americans not to get a false sense of security from coronavirus by simply wearing a medical mask.
“We don’t want people to get an artificial sense of protection because they’re behind a mask,” Birx said during the White House press briefing on Thursday.
Birx repeated that people wearing masks were still touching things and their eyes were not protected from the virus:
We don’t want people to feel like ‘Oh I’m wearing a mask, and I’m protected and I’m protecting others. You may be protecting others, but don’t get a false sense of security that that mask is protecting you exclusively from getting infected, because there are other ways you can get infected.
Birx said masks sometimes gave people a false sense of protection, and that she wanted to emphasize the importance of social distancing.
“The most important thing is social distancing and washing your hands,” she repeated.
President Donald Trump warned Americans on Wednesday that civilians seeking masks would keep them from medical professionals.
“We don’t want to take them away from our medical professionals, but I certainly don’t see it hurting,” he said.
Trump recommended that Americans use scarves to protect themselves.
“What I do see people doing now is using scarves and I think, in a certain way, depending on the fabric — I think, in a certain way, a scarf is better,” he said.