The surgeon general wants Americans to stop buying face masks

The United States' top doctor has one simple request: Stop buying face masks.

Posted: Mar 1, 2020 1:54 PM

(CNN) -- The United States' top doctor has one simple request: Stop buying face masks.

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams' message, posted to Twitter on Saturday, was a response to face mask shortages as people stocked up due to coronavirus concerns.

"Seriously people," he began, and though it's a tweet, you can almost hear the exasperation in his plea. "STOP BUYING MASKS!"

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

Washing your hands, staying home when sick and other "everyday preventive actions" are the best protections, Adams said. He urged people to get a flu shot, as fewer flu patients means more resources to fight the coronavirus.

The tweet comes during what has become a mask boom. With coronavirus popping up in the United States, some have begun buying face masks as a form of protection, despite the likes of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Vice President Mike Pence saying they're unnecessary.

And, like Adams points out, if these masks run out, they won't be available to the medical professionals who are at the highest risk for disease transmission.

Dr. William Schaffner, a preventive medicine professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told CNN the rush to buy masks is a "psychological thing."

"The coronavirus is coming, and we feel rather helpless," he said Saturday. "By getting masks and wearing them, we move the locus of control somewhat to ourselves."

Meanwhile, stores across the country have run out of masks. As for online shipments, many orders have been pushed back.

The CDC recommends the following to prevent the spread of any respiratory disease:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Stay home from school or work when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
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.
If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3566914

Reported Deaths: 52158
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles119192321435
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2866072874
Orange2612203917
San Diego2600913284
Santa Clara1106211777
Kern102627827
Fresno953931443
Sacramento932811472
Alameda806681242
Ventura77623844
San Joaquin665691101
Contra Costa62248681
Stanislaus56132946
Tulare47784758
Monterey42138328
San Mateo38998515
San Francisco34260412
Santa Barbara31805411
Solano30024164
Merced28915397
Sonoma28141298
Imperial26903591
Kings21955218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15467209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12834185
Shasta10985174
Butte10962160
El Dorado9095100
Napa903869
Sutter884597
San Benito576759
Yuba573337
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Nevada396074
Tuolumne394659
Mendocino379643
Amador346341
Humboldt318033
Lake315641
Glenn222523
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128737
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
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