• Health experts say wearing gloves when shopping is a meaningless gesture
  • Primary modes of transmission are droplets from nose or mouth and not the hands
  • Gloves are reportedly ineffective in the fight against the coronavirus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not include the wearing of gloves in its guidelines for those who need to venture out of their homes. The usual advice is the wearing of masks or face covering and social distancing, as well as frequent washing of hands.

Despite the lack of recommendation, however, many shoppers keep on wearing gloves when buying food from grocery stores. This practice has left health experts and doctors shaking their heads because not only are the gloves ineffective; they may even be aggravating the spread of COVID-19.

coronavirus health expert sees no need to wear gloves when going to grocery store
A representational picture of a healthcare worker holding gloves. leo2014 - Pixabay

Virus Spreads Through Droplets

Dr. Marilyn Roberts, a microbiologist, and professor at the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington, offered her expert opinion on the matter. She said that the primary mode of transmission is through droplets coming out of the mouths and noses, not the hands.

Dr. Roberts added that there is no evidence showing gloves can protect people from getting infected. The risk is when they touch their faces with their fingers, which people do with or without gloves, Dr. Roberts, in an interview with The Post, said. “The biggest issue is that people are picking up COVID-19 from other people. They’re not picking it up from surfaces,” Dr. Roberts told The Post.

Making Matters Worse

Health experts also say that even if you are careful not to touch your phone or face while wearing gloves, improper disposal of such could make it a coronavirus risk. Dr. Roberts then cited an example that happened in the past. She said that in 2003, Canadian researchers accidentally exposed themselves to SARS after they incorrectly removed their personal protective equipment.

Such cases, according to Dr. Roberts, are the primary reason why gloves usually would do more harm than good. She also said that wearing gloves if you are just shopping for food at the grocery is not going to offer you much protection. “The bigger issue is the inappropriate disposal,” Dr. Roberts said.

Removing Gloves Properly

Dr. Niket Sonpal, the assistant clinical professor at New York’s Touro College of Medicine, agreed with the professional opinion of Dr. Roberts. He told The Post that in medical school, they would spend entire lessons on how to put on gloves and properly removing them.

Doctors and nurses receive training on proper removals, such as pinching the gloves at the wrist and then turning it inside out as they pull it off their hands. After this, they immediately remove the other glove so that their hand would never touch the outer side of the glove.

Dr. Marilyn Roberts said that while health workers require the use of gloves when treating patients, he sees no reason to use them when shopping. Health workers have also echoed the woes of sanitation workers and city officials about used gloves littering the streets, parking lots, and many other areas. According to Dr. Roberts, this type of trash may further the spread if someone will come into contact with the trash.