PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– As COVID-19 continues to spread, panic across the United States is ongoing. People are rushing out to buy what they think are “preventive” items, like masks and hand sanitizer and it’s even impacting local pharmacies.
Pharmacies here in Peoria, such as Alwan Pharmacy, are seeing an increased amount of people asking about, face masks as coronavirus fears mount. Currently, six people in the United States have died as a result of the novel virus.
On Saturday, the U.S. Surgeon General tweeted that people should stop buying face masks as they are not effective at preventing you from getting the disease.
Alwan Pharmacy, on Western Avenue, says on average they receive about one to two calls daily of people asking about surgical masks. However, the pharmacy says they have not had masks in stock for at least a week.
Pharmacies could also see a shortage in hand sanitizers as the demand for sanitizers has gone up by 1400 percent in the United States.
Sam An, a pharmacist at Alwan Pharmacy says people are using the masks in an improper manner.
“In this case, the masks that people are buying, they’re really meant to protect other people from yourself when you are sick. For example, if you have the flu or the cold and you’re sneezing/coughing, those masks capture the droplets that are expelled from you when you cough or sneeze,” An said.
An also says masks do not completely cover one’s face are constantly being touched.
“It also gives people a false sense of security because they’re adjusting their masks over and over and when you do that, you’re touching your face and that is something in healthcare that you really don’t want to do is touch your face,” An said.
An and the surgeon general both say a shortage of masks can hurt the medical field for surgeons who use them to keep patients from catching germs during surgeries.