Will face masks, eye goggles be the new masking requirement in SF? Public health experts explain

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We know the importance of wearing face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, but, what about face shields and eye goggles? Should those be a requirement too?

"Covering our faces may be the most important," said San Francisco's Health Director, Dr. Grant Colfax.

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In San Francisco it's a requirement for anyone 10-years-old and older to wear a face mask that covers your mouth and nose in public.

But, the one part of our face not required to be covered is our eyes. Should it be?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert says it can't hurt.

"If you really want perfect protection of your mucosal surfaces, you have mucosal in the nose, mouth, and eye," said Dr. Fauci. "Theoretically you should protect all surfaces."

This includes, face coverings with face shields or eye goggles.

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Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, announced Thursday face shields should be worn by the public.

Birx said it will help protect people from touching their eyes and blocking droplets from their face.

But, not every public health expert agrees.

"In an ideal world, yes, people would all be wearing masks and goggles," said UCSF doctor Monica Gandhi, who specializes in infectious diseases. "But, do I think people will do that every single day, in every single interaction? No. I would prefer a face covering because this is the largest toll, the two nostrils and the mouth."

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Dr. Gandhi explained the virus is less likely to enter through our eyes. She emphasized face shields are for the hospital and traditional masking is for the public.

"I can say with certainty that 100% mask compliance in society between cutting down illness and infection, would get us through this pandemic in 6 to 8 weeks," she said.

Could face shields or eye goggles be a requirement?

It's not likely in San Francisco anytime soon. According to Dr. Colfax the city is looking into it for hospitals and health care workers, but made it clear the public should focus on wearing masks.

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