A Public Health Official Warned People Not To Touch Their Face Due To Coronavirus — Then Immediately Licked Her Finger

Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Director, County of Santa Clara Public Health Department.

Dr. Sara Cody was offering one piece of simple, yet vital, advice on how people can stop the novel coronavirus from spreading: Don’t touch your face.

“Today, start working on not touching your face because one main way viruses spread is when you touch your own mouth, nose, or eyes,” Cody, director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department said at the Friday press conference.

Less than a minute later, Cody brought her hand to her mouth, and then licked her finger to turn the page to her notes.

Santa Clara County in California have been grappling with 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, and officials have been holding press conferences and issuing public statements not just about the spread of the virus, but how to prevent it.

A spokeswoman with the county’s health department did not respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment or to speak with Cody.

Although the press conference took place Friday, video of it went viral Wednesday as health officials across the country echoed the simple, yet effective, way to keep viruses from entering a person’s respiratory system.

The clip also highlights just how hard it is not to touch your face, especially after someone tells you not to.

According to a 2015 study, for example, researchers found that people touched their faces with their hands an average of 23 times an hour. Most of that, according to the study, included direct contact with the eyes, mouth, and nose: direct pathways for a virus to enter the body.

Along with washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home when sick, not touching your face with your hands is one of the main ways to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, according to public health leaders.

“We’re always saying the common sense of washing your hands, not touching your face, ensuring that if you touch anything you wash your hands again,” Dr. Debbie Birx, White House response coordinator for the coronavirus, told reporters on Wednesday.

To drive the point home on Wednesday, President Trump himself said he hadn’t “touched my face in weeks.”

“I miss it,” Trump said.

Despite the comment, however, it’s pretty clear that even the President has a hard time avoiding the habit.

Of course, he’s not alone.

Whether it’s scratching an itchy nose or rubbing a chin, people on social media understand how hard it is to avoid touching your face, even during a virus outbreak.

Others looked for extreme measures to get the job done.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the US has seen a total of 148 cases involving the novel coronavirus. Eleven of those cases have resulted in death.

More on this

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  • New York Is Making Its Own Coronavirus Test After The CDC’s Test Has Repeatedly FailedDan Vergano · Feb. 27, 2020
  • A Coronavirus Pandemic Is Looking A Lot More Likely. Here’s What That Means.Dan Vergano · Feb. 24, 2020

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