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Getty Can you get COVID-19 through the eyes?

Dr. Anthony Fauci sparked concern recently about COVID-19 infecting people through their eyes when he told ABC News, “If you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it. It’s not universally recommended, but if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it if you can.

However, can you really get the COVID-19 virus through the eyes? Some other experts and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention say yes.

Dr. Anthony Fauci to @DrJAshton: "If you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it. It's not universally recommended, but if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it if you can." https://t.co/3B7YOTueKi pic.twitter.com/ROjmoqUS4n

— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) July 29, 2020

Dr. Thomas Steinemann, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, told CNN that it’s possible to get COVID-19 through the eyes. “Yes, it’s in the air,” Steinemann told CNN. “Can it land on the eye? Of course.”

A study specifically looked at the susceptibility of the eyes to COVID-19. It’s called “CE2 and TMPRSS2 are expressed on the human ocular surface, suggesting susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection.” It was published in the Ocular Surface Journal.

The study found, “Conjunctival signs and symptoms are observed in a subset of patients with COVID-19, and SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in tears, raising concerns regarding the eye both as a portal of entry and carrier of the virus.”

The study’s results noted that “ocular surface cells including conjunctiva are susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2, and could therefore serve as a portal of entry as well as a reservoir for person-to-person transmission of this virus. This highlights the importance of safety practices including face masks and ocular contact precautions in preventing the spread of COVID-19 disease.”

According to WebMD, there’s scientific uncertainty about whether COVID-19 can invade the body through the eyes, though. “I don’t think we can answer that question with 100% confidence at this time,” H. Nida Sen, MD, director of the Uveitis Clinic at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, MD, told WebMD. She added: “I think it is biologically plausible.”

Here’s what you need to know:

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Says Touching Your Eyes Could Result in COVID-19 Infection

GEttyThis undated handout photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a microscopic view of the novel coronavirus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is possible to get COVID-19 by touching your eyes after touching an infected surface, but this is not believed to be the main way that coronavirus spreads.

“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads,” CDC wrote.

“COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes.”

The CDC says:

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Studies Have Found Evidence of Airborne Transmission of COVID-19

CDCThis illustration reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.

If COVID-19 can be transmitted through the air, it obviously would make it more likely that a person could get it through their eyes. Studies have found that airborne transmission of COVID-19 occurs.

A July 6 manuscript accepted for publication in Clinical Infectious Diseases is titled, “It is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of COVID-19.” It’s written by Lidia Morawska and Donald Milton.

“Studies by the signatories and other scientists have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are released during exhalation, talking, and coughing in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in air and pose a risk of exposure at distances beyond 1 to 2 m from an infected individual,” they wrote.

“For example, at typical indoor air velocities, a 5 μm droplet will travel tens of meters, much greater than the scale of a typical room, while settling from a height of 1.5 m to the floor. Several retrospective studies conducted after the SARS-CoV-1 epidemic demonstrated that airborne transmission was the most likely mechanism explaining the spatial pattern of infections.”

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Quartararo eyes hat-trick with Marquez out of Czech MotoGP

Fauci: Politics will not guide vaccine timing 5 Beloved Fast Food Chains That May Go Bankrupt Next Quartararo eyes hat-trick with Marquez out of Czech MotoGP

Fabio Quartararo will be eyeing a third straight MotoGP win at Brno on Sunday as reigning champion Marc Marquez is demoted to watching from the sidelines after undergoing surgery for the second time on his broken arm.

© JAVIER SORIANO Fabio Quartararo is looking to capitalise on the absence of injured rival and six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez at Brno

Quartararo, the 21-year-old French Yamaha rider who tops the MotoGP rankings with 50 points from two races, has never reached the podium at Brno.

But his back-to-back wins at Jerez in July make him the man to watch on the 5.4-kilometre (3.36-mile) circuit in the Czech Republic's second city.

"Brno is a track that I really like. We know from last year that we can be fast there and that we have the performance, even if it is not the best place for our bike," said Quartararo.

"There are a lot of great corners that make up the circuit but the last corner is one of the best. You have to go in with a lot of corner speed but also prepare to take the perfect line for the straight."

He added: "It's great to be going there after taking two wins and we're looking at fighting for the podium this weekend. Our expectations are high and I can't wait!"

Quartararo leads the rankings 10 points ahead of Yamaha factory team rider Maverick Vinales of Spain.

Italy's Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso, the Brno winner from 2018 and last year's runner-up, is third.

Marquez, who took the 2019 honours at Brno before earning his sixth world championship title, broke his right arm in a heavy crash in the season opener at Jerez.

He underwent surgery and appeared to be ready for the second Jerez race a week later, but eventually pulled out after struggling to keep pace in qualifying.

The 27-year-old Spaniard had another operation on Monday and his Repsol Honda team said Tuesday he would be replaced by German test rider Stefan Bradl at Brno.

"After undergoing a second operation on his injured right arm, Marc Marquez and HRC have decided that the world champion will not ride in the Czech Republic in order for him to recover more," the team said in a statement.

Weather forecasters predict a hot, sunny weekend for Brno.

The race will again be held without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic which has wreaked havoc on this year's MotoGP calendar, with only 13 confirmed events for the season and all those outside Europe cancelled. 

Following this weekend's stop in the Czech Republic, MotoGP will move on to neighbouring Austria for two races on August 16 and 23.

frj/mw


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