WATCH: UCSF's Dr. Patel talks DIY masks, social distancing, possible drug to treat COVID-19

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Amid the COVID-19 crisis in the Bay Area and beyond, ABC7's Kristen Sze and Reggie Aqui spoke with special correspondent Dr. Alok Patel, a pediatrician at the University of San Francisco, about a range of topics surrounding the virus, like the medical supply shortage in the U.S., the shelter restrictions in California and a drug promoted by the president to treat the virus.

Some people are resorting to DIY -- or do-it-yourself -- masks because of the supple shortage, using maxi-pads, bandannas and diapers.

Is this a good idea?

"We still know that an N-95 mask is what we all need to ensure we're safe," Dr. Patel said. "If we don't have an N-95 mask, is it plausible that some of these do-it-yourself masks could block some of the droplets? It's possible."

Sure, it's possible a DIY mask could help, but Patel says this isn't question people should be asking.

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"The question we should be asking is where are our masks?" he said. "And what are we going to do to step up manufacturing in this country to make sure we have more masks all over the place and that states aren't outbidding each other to protect doctors and nurses."

In regards to social distancing and the effectiveness of the Bay Area and California's shelter and stay-at-home orders, Dr. Patel says the U.S. should be more restrictive to curb the chance of a second wave of the virus.

"Gov. Newsom rightfully put a statewide restriction in California," Patel said. "And this weekend, we still saw people crowding beaches, parks, going outside and not really listening to the six-feet distance rule."

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He said at this point, Californians don't have to worry about rebound transmission -- or that second wave of the virus after a successful decrease in spread.

That's because initial containment of the virus hasn't happened yet.

The focus should be to limit cases right now because people are not following the shelter and social distancing order, Dr. Patel said.

In terms of medications that could help with the treatment of COVID-19, Dr. Patel discussed comments over the weekend by Pres. Donald Trump, suggesting a certain drug that could treat COVID-19.

"Over the weekend, there was a surge of people requesting this drug," Patel said. "Now the drug the president was talking about is called chloroquine."

Doctors and pharmacies are now running out of the drug -- specifically hydroxychloroquine, Patel said.

As for the effectiveness, Patel said the drug still needs to be studied and receive an FDA approval.

Watch the full interview with Dr. Patel above.
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