The CDC has advised men to avoid certain facial hairstyles to prevent coronavirus infection.
Beards and Coronavirus: Is There a Connection?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that some beards might conflict with potentially life-saving respirators and masks when fighting the fast-spreading and deadly coronavirus.
Certain facial hairstyles like the handlebar mustache might not pose a problem when it comes to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
However, other facial hairstyles like mutton chops, chin curtains, full beards, dovetails and Baldos, etc. might keep respirators from making a seal on their face.
Goatees will not prevent masks from working as long as the man’s chin hair does not cross the seal.
Furthermore, shaving beards might help masks fit properly.
Many people now wear masks around the globe, and especially in China, to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The Washington Post reported, “Facial hair, which can be a food trapper depending on the length and style, is not great at catching gases, vapors or air particles,” the CDC wrote. “Toxins can bypass facial hair and enter a person’s respiratory system.”
The University Hospital Southampton National Health Service Foundation Trust distributed an email to all employees about properly shaving beards so that masks could fit properly.
The hospital gave an exemption to people sporting beards for religious or cultural reasons.
“While human hair appears to be very thin to the naked eye, hair is much larger in size than the particles inhaled,” the CDC said. “Facial hair is just not dense enough and the individual hairs are too large to capture particles like an air filter does.”
The CDC said that shaving regularly would help fight the spread of coronavirus because even two-day old stubble decreases the amount of protection one receives from wearing a surgical mask.
“I recognize for some this is a big task, that beards are so popular at present,” said Derek Sandeman, medical director of the trust, who passed on the CDC guidelines on facial hair. “However, I do believe this is the right thing to do.”
The Washington Post reported the American hospitals might face a shortage of masks because of rules that require masks to get tossed after each use.
People worldwide have resorted to using facemasks as a way to prevent the spreading of the virus, which now has affected 80,000 people across the globe.
CNN reported, “A respirator covers at least the nose and mouth and protects against particles including infectious agents, the CDC said. However, the CDC does not recommend routine use outside of workplaces.”
Potentially, facial hairs may prevent the exhalation valve of a respirator from working properly.
Regardless of the style or look of the respirator, hair should not cross the respirator-sealing surface.
Despite the fear caused by coronavirus, most infections have occurred only in China.
To be exact, around 95 percent of coronavirus infections have occurred in China.
Additionally, 94.3 percent of coronavirus deaths have occurred in the Chinese province of Hubiei, the epicenter of the disease.
A total of 2,700 have died worldwide from coronavirus.
In spite of fears, people in China have begun to resume their daily routines, just with more precautions.
On Feb. 26, NBC News reported that coronavirus likely started from bats in China, after a person had contact with an infected bat.
Over the last two decades, bats have received blame for having links to hendra, ebola, MERS, nipha, rabies and SARS to name a few diseases.
In response, bat lovers do not think coronavirus fear should result in people targeting bats.
“And every time there’s a big scare you get people going out and killing bats. We are hearing suggestions as far-fetched as: ‘Kill all the bats to protect human health,’” said Leslie Sturges of the Mount Solon, Va. based bat conservation group known as Save Lucy.
Austin, Texas-based biologist Melin Tuttle admits that bats carry enormous amounts of diseases, which causes them no harm, but can prove extremely deadly for humans.
However, Tuttle told The Daily Beast that he thinks many animals have the same capabilities.
Tuttle believes that researchers focus on bats because they are easier to capture, monitor and study than some other animals.
Prior to the bat hypothesis, many conspiracy theorists believed that coronavirus started in a lab in Wuhan, China.
Even one scientific paper suggested that the disease started in a lab in Wuhan, China.
As a result, 27 prominent public health scientists from outside of China pushed back on those conspiracy theories.
“The rapid, open and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumors and misinformation around its origins,” said the scientists from nine countries in a statement. “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”
Even politicians like Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) added fuel to the conspiracy fire when he said the lab was “a few miles away” from a seafood market in which a large number of the first cases of coronavirus came from.
“We don’t have evidence that this disease originated from there but because China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says,” said Sen. Cotton.
However, scientists have always believed that coronavirus, like many other diseases, started with wildlife.
“Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumors, and prejudice that jeopardize our global collaboration in the fight against this virus,” the scientists’ statement continued.
Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance and a co-signer of the scientists’ statement said, “We’re in the midst of the social media misinformation age, and these rumors and conspiracy theories have real consequences, including threats of violence that have occurred to our colleagues in China.”