An NBC News correspondent recently revealed that he contracted coronavirus and believes how he may have even caught it through his eyes, following a packed flight. According to the TODAY show, Dr. Joseph Fair, a virologist who is also a contributor for the news outlet, stated he thinks he was exposed to coronavirus on a flight from New York to New Orleans. He further added that he took "max precautions," but did not not have any eye coverings.
While it is a less common type of transmission, experts say that it is possible to contract the virus through your eyes. "It usually happens because of contact," NBC News medical correspondent Dr. John Torres told Today. "You touch something, and you rub your eye and you get it in that way." Torres also explained that, after someone who has coronavirus sneezes or coughs, it can linger in the air. He clarified that this "isn't a concern" with the eyes. But he did state how it is so rare, that there is currently no concrete data on it.
Torres went on to share some tips on how to protect your eyes if you are concerned about the chances of contracting coronavirus through such a vessel. He suggests wearing glasses or goggles "if you're in an area where you can't (practice) social distancing" or "if you're around people ... coughing or sneezing a lot." However, he added that for the majority of walking around every day, particularly outside, "other than sunglasses or regular vision glasses, I'm not sure that (eye protection, like goggles) would add that much benefit."
While protecting the eyes is certainly important, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommends "wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission." The department adds how it is also recommended that the use of simple cloth face coverings can help slow the spread of the virus and aid those who may have the virus and don't even realize they are transmitting it to others. "Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure," the CDC reported. "Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance."