Voice of America
January 28, 2020

Surgical masks are advised, but do not provide complete coverage, Donald Milton told Voice of America in a recent news article

Milton, professor of environmental health, said that viruses, like the coronavirus, typically ride on aerosolized droplets-- the stuff that comes out of your nose and your mouth when you cough and sneeze. 

And Milton says that surgical masks can’t stop the droplets from getting into your eyes. 

“I like to describe [it] as getting hit with a ballistic droplet in the eye,” Milton said in the article. 

Milton, who studies airborne viruses, says that germs are frequently on door knobs, as well as railings, seats, and doors in subways, classrooms, shops and at home. 

Handwashing and disinfecting are key, Voice of America reported. 

Milton directs the University of Maryland's Campus Infectious Disease Management Committiee which advises students, faculty and staff returning to school from China and other international destinations. The University of Maryland enrolls about 2,000 Chinese students, but Milton says college-age students are less likely to get sick. The elderly, the very young and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk. 

The key is early screening and identification, and then isolation and treatment, Milton said.

“We can handle this,” Milton told Voice of America. “It depends on early detection.”

Related Links

Voice of America: Surgical Masks Help Block Germs But Are No Guarantee

Related People
Donald Milton