gloves covid-19

Canadian expert says stop wearing gloves to protect against COVID-19

You shouldn't wear gloves to protect yourself against COVID-19; at least that's what one Canadian infectious diseases physician at St. Joseph's Healthcare is advising, and he makes some valid points.

Zain Chagla, who is also an associate professor at McMaster University, compiled his thoughts in a twitter thread on Thursday.

His main message? Stop wearing gloves in public.

First of all, Chagla says that wearing gloves is pointless when it comes to protecting against COVID-19.

"COVID-19 is much more related to droplets," Chagla wrote. "Outside of hospitals, contaminated surfaces or 'fomites' are rarely a source of transmission."

In other words, you're probably not going to contract COVID-19 from your Amazon parcel.

But Chagla emphasizes that putting fabric garments on your hands isn't merely pointless; it can also be harmful to your health.

"Other microorganisms transmit on gloves," Chagla wrote. "[In] public if you are using your gloves, touching contaminated surfaces, touching yourself, your phone and walking around, you are spreading microorganisms to your surfaces, and to other surface[s]."

And you're not just spreading those microorganisms to other people, Chagla added — you also risk infecting yourself when you take on and off your gloves.

But what about healthcare workers and employees that handle food? Surely if they wear gloves to protect themselves from microorganisms, then Canadians should, too.

Well, not quite.

Chagla says that gloves have a "short term" role in some professions, but that wearing them in public to a grocery store, for example, would be a mistake.

And even though some Canadian cities are now making face masks mandatory, Chagla says that gloves are a whole other ballgame.

"Way harder to take off gloves properly," he wrote. "As someone who does infection control on wards and hospitals I can tell you. Taking off masks correctly is a whole lot different than taking off gloves correctly."

But what about if you're really, really careful?

Nope, Chagla says. Not even then.

It looks like Canadians may want to stash their gloves at the back of their closets until December rolls around again.

Lead photo by

Nathan Dumlao

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