I was going to write about the possibiliity that the Kung Flu can infect you through your eyes, and then Little Tony comes along, and I have to change what I will say.
It has been suggested for several months that virus-containing droplets coughed up by your Uncle Kevin could get in your system through your eyes.
“I don’t think we can answer that question with 100% confidence at this time,” says H. Nida Sen, MD, director of the Uveitis Clinic at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, MD, and a clinical investigator who is studying the effects of COVID-19 on the eye. But, she says, “I think it is biologically plausible.”
Notice that she’s careful in what she says. It’s the kind of information that you might act on if you’re unusally worried. In fact, I bought some onion-peeling glasses that have foam around the eyes to keep fumes out. Ok, I can be paranoid. I haven’t, you know, actually worn them anywhere. You can also buy safety glasses with the foam; I have some of these, not for the foam, but because they’re safety glasses, and I do a lot of things more dangerous than the Kung Flu, like play with chain saws.
In an email, the agency says it “does not have specific recommendations for the public regarding eye protection. However, in healthcare settings, CDC does recommend eye protection for healthcare workers to prevent transmission via droplets.”
Sen agrees. “For the general public, I don’t think we have enough data to suggest that they should be covering the eyes in some form,” she says.
When she goes to the grocery store, she doesn’t wear eye protection. “I am only wearing goggles when I’m seeing ophthalmology patients up close, basically because I’m 4 or 5 inches away from them.”
Now Tony, a quite visible public health official, had no business saying: “You have mucosa in the nose, mucosa in the mouth, but you also have mucosa in the eye,” he continued. “Theoretically, you should protect all the mucosal surfaces. So if you have goggles or an eye shield you should use it.”
Do you see him wearing goggles? Of course not. This is the kind of statement likely to create panic and worry. It’s irresponsible. Maybe he has mucosa on the brain.
Maybe Little Tony is too busy basking in the limelight to pay attention to what he’s saying. Next he’ll recommend full hazmat suits because, you know, you can’t be too careful. Maybe he’s stirring up mischief because he despises The Donald. I can say that’s possible if he can say it’s possible to get the Kung Flu through your eyeballs.