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Coronavirus Expert: Not 'Much Reason To Be Wearing Gloves Out In Public'

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Nearly three months into the coronavirus pandemic, medical experts now say the virus spreads primarily during person-to-person contact and not from touching surfaces.

"I don't think there's much reason to be wearing gloves out in public," Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told CBS News.

Washing hands, however, remains paramount, Jha said, adding, "it's critical not to touch your face or eyes with your hands."

Jha also said that despite the promotion of cleaning practices such as disinfecting bags or products upon returning from retail stores, it's likely unnecessary for people to do so.

"I've never really believed that washing groceries or wiping them down with Clorox wipes is necessary, and I think more and more of the evidence is you don't need to do that," he said.

Many customers wear gloves while shopping at a supermarket in Saugus, Massachusetts on March 13, 2020. - Supermarkets and shops around Boston have been emptied by customers in fear of Covid-19. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

While there has yet been no official change in public health policy when it comes to gloves, Jha's comments may signal a shift in how experts are considering ways to safely reopen economies in Los Angeles and across the U.S.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently suggested servers and other staff could be wearing gloves when dine-in restaurant services return statewide.

Retailers such as Walmart and Sam's Club have provided masks and gloves to their employees as precautionary measures, while supermarkets and other stores have offered complimentary disposable gloves to their customers.

Gloves have also caused a new type of public waste hazard as used latex gloves have littered streets across the Southland. Some people carefully discard of them, while others have tossed them in public places.

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