Hand Sanitizer & Face Masks, Will They Help Against the Coronavirus? w:Michael Osterholm | Joe


4 years ago



Michael Osterholm

2 appearances

Dr. Michael Osterholm is an expert in infectious disease epidemiology, professor, and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. He's also the host of "The Osterholm Update: COVID-19" podcast, and author of multiple books, including "Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs."


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Well, what else can people do in terms of all this hand sanitizer jazz and masks? Is that all? Yeah. The hand sanitizers actually are a great thing for stopping a lot of infectious diseases. They actually are really good. They're good for your hands, you know, in terms of the skin. They kill the bad bugs. But the whole issue of using your hands, touching your face, if people all concentrate on it. The data is actually very weak that this kind of virus is going to be transmitted that way. So I wouldn't tell you to stop using hand sanitizers, but don't think it's going to have a big impact on this bug. Do you see that viral video that's going around that woman who is giving the address at the behest of the White House? And she tells people not to touch their face and then immediately licks her finger and turns the page. I did saw that. Yeah, I saw that. I saw that. Well, why is she telling people not to touch their faces? Because you know, well, the thought was is that there are receptors around your eye right here that actually for this virus could get in and then get into your body. And you know, the data we have on this is so sparse to say that that's the case. I think the primary thing about hand washing is legitimate. But one of the things people want to do something, they want to be able to think they're doing something. And so we tell them wash your hands often and to prevent this disease. And I feel like we're not being really honest with the people that the data and we've looked at this very carefully really is about just breathing air. And that's a hard thing to stop. So keep doing the hand washing, but don't think that that's going to stop this disease. But you asked about the masks. It's going to stop other stuff. Yes, the masks. Yeah, well, there's two kinds. Right. Basically the surgical masks, which just fits over. And the reason it's called a surgical mask is because it's loose fitting, just fits, you know, kind of ties behind you. It was worn by surgeons so that they don't cough or drip into your wound. Right. And it was never made to protect you from bugs coming in. So those little spaces on the sides, that's not a problem if I'm breathing into the cloth right in front of my nose. But in terms of the air coming in on the side, they're not effective at all. So people wear them. They look like they're doing something they're not. Now if you are sick, they may help a little bit from you transmitting because if you cough, then you cough right into that cloth and it'll, some of it will embed in there and not get out around. The other one though is called an N95 respirator. But for all intents and purposes it looks like a mask. It's just tight face fitting. It has a seal, even at the nose, etc. That's an apocalypse mask. It could be. I don't know what those are, but that could be. I'm just saying that that's how I look at it. Okay, okay. Well, they're actually, we use them all the time in healthcare all the time. And they use them, actually about 90% of them are used in industry. So when they're grinding things or asbestos, etc., you know, they don't breathe in all these parts. So if we have one of those, that'll do something. They're very effective. They're very effective. The problem is we have a big shortage. Right now we have hospitals that are down to just a couple days worth of these masks, the respirators. And it's because we don't stockpile anything in this country. We don't have, hospitals don't have the money to do that. Those preppers right now are so excited. All the preppers across the country. I knew it. I knew the day would come. Yeah, well they are. They are. And peaches and... Well, this is really important because how healthcare workers go is how the country, I think, will see where we're going. There have been over 4,000 healthcare workers in China who are infected, many of them on their job. And a number of them died. And if in this country we have a real challenge delivering healthcare because we're overwhelmed, and then we have healthcare workers picking up the infection, like we talked about the group in Milan, and we don't have the protection for them, I really believe that's when the public will say, wait a minute, what's going on here? And that's where I think the challenge. So we really have to protect our healthcare workers. They are the front line people. And the biggest problem we have is a lot of these cases need intensive care medicine, which we only have a limited number of beds for. But this is really sophisticated medicine. So when one of those people get infected, a doctor or nurse working intensive care, it's not like you just took out another soldier. You took out a special forces person. You just can't bring somebody in from family practice or wherever and put them in there. And so we've got to protect these workers. And I'm really concerned that that's one of the areas we've not done. Nobody stockpiles. We have no capacity to make lots of them all of a sudden. Prior to this event, the hospital purchasing agent would go online, click a button, send me 5,000 of these, and it would be there the next morning.