Fauci says eye protection can help prevent spread of coronavirus

Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, said Wednesday that the U.S. could eventually reach a point where it recommends the use of eye goggles to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

During an interview with ABC News medical correspondent Jennifer Ashton, Fauci was asked whether the U.S. would one day recommend eye protection due to the pandemic. 

“You know, it might,” Fauci said, noting that it would offer an added layer of protection. 

“You have mucosa in the nose, mucosa in the mouth, but you also have mucosa in the eye,” he added. “Theoretically, you should protect all the mucosal surfaces.” 

Fauci went on to say that if you have “goggles or an eye shield, you should use it.” While it’s not universally recommended, both goggles and a face covering would provide “complete” protection from the coronavirus, he said. 

“It’s just that it’s so easy for people to make a cloth mask,” Fauci said, referencing the public health guidance for Americans to wear face coverings in public settings to slow the spread of the virus. 

The novel coronavirus first appeared in the U.S. earlier this year and has since infected more than 4.4 million Americans and accounted for at least 150,000 deaths in the nation, according to a Johns Hopkins University database. A surge in COVID-19 cases in several parts of the U.S. in recent weeks has caused many states to pause reopening plans and implement mask mandates. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of face masks, but no federal mandate has been issued. No guidance has been offered regarding the use of protective eye shields for the public at-large. The CDC recommends health care professionals wear eye protection if they are in areas with “moderate to substantial community transmission.” 

Tags Anthony Fauci Coronavirus COVID-19 eye protection Pandemic wearing masks in public
See all Hill.TV See all Video