July 31, 2020 -- In addition to wearing face masks, people should consider wearing goggles or eye shields for increased protection from COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
In an Instagram Live conversation on ABC News, Fauci was asked if eye protection was recommended and answered. "If you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said.
Fauci noted that goggles would provide “perfect protection of the mucosal surfaces." Mucosa is moist tissue that lines certain parts of the human body.
"You have mucosa in the nose, mucosa in the mouth, but you also have mucosa in the eye," he said. "Theoretically, you should protect all the mucosal surfaces. So if you have goggles or an eye shield you should use it."
Goggles or face shields are not universally recommended, Fauci said, "but if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it if you can."
Eyewear hasn’t been widely recommended yet because “it’s so easy for people to just make a cloth mask,” he said.
Wearing goggles would be a major step beyond face masks, which the US coronavirus task force didn’t recommend for the general public until mid-April. Even now, with coronavirus case numbers surging in many parts of the country, there’s still strong public resistance to wearing a mask.
The CDC recommends protective eyewear for health care professionals “in areas with moderate to substantial community transmission.”
In the same interview, Fauci said he hopes face masks will help curb the spread of the flu when flu season starts later this year.
"It is inevitable that we're going to have some degree of flu," he said. "I'm hoping that the wearing of masks and other coverings are going to not only protect us against COVID-19, but also help protect us against influenza."