Fact vs. fiction: FOX 5 works to dispel myths amid coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus fears and concerns are spreading quickly across the country, the Washington, D.C. area is no exception.

In fact, many pharmacies and stores are sold out of face masks as people are flocking to purchase the mask, hoping to prevent catching the coronavirus.

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A pharmacy in McLean is just one of several across the area sold out of surgical face masks and respirators — that’s what you see folks wearing in the videos referencing coronavirus concerns.

FOX 5 did some digging hoping to dispel any myths out there, so here are the facts about the masks.

According to the CDC:

• CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
• Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
• The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers.

(Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images) (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

Obviously, what’s taking place with coronavirus is unprecedented.

FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis went to some pharmacies in our area — all were sold out of face masks and in some instances, they were low on hand sanitizer.

Respirators are designed to reduce exposure to airborne contaminants. While many pharmacies are out of the masks, we’re told hospitals, for the most part, do have them but for associates and patients.

The respirator masks reportedly come in various sizes and must be individually selected to fit the wearer's face and to provide a tight seal.

Even so, surgical masks are reportedly not designed or certified to prevent the inhalation of small airborne contaminants.

Hand sanitizer is also selling quickly at pharmacies and stores even though the CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as your first defense.