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Masks Flying Off Colorado Shelves Amid Global Coronavirus Emergency

DENVER (CBS4) - In Asia and elsewhere, it is a common sight to see people wearing masks due to the coronavirus. Now, finding those masks in Colorado is becoming increasingly difficult.

Shelves in stores are often empty, marked "temporarily out of stock." Bob Rarig of Technical Tools told CBS4 he is having a hard time getting them for his industrial supply business in Denver.

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"There's a lot of speculation and panic and wild stories," he said of coronavirus.

People think masks might protect them, but Dr. Heather Young, medical director for infection prevention at Denver Health, says not necessarily so. The masks are more likely to keep the virus from spreading than protecting the wearer.

"We don't recommend people wear masks in public to protect themselves from novel coronavirus."

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That includes the N95 government approved respirators. They must be professionally fitted to use properly.

"You pinch the nose a bit, put it on over the top and put these on," Young explained.

What doctors recommend is washing the hands frequently, thoroughly and keeping them away from the hands and eyes.

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As for getting a mask -- if you can find one -- they may provide more peace of mind than real protection.

RELATED: Colorado Health Officials, School Districts Prepare For Coronavirus

Neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization recommend wearing masks to prevent getting the virus.


For the latest information about coronavirus, visit the CDC website.

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