Dr. Anthony Fauci said that Americans "should use" eye protection to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
During an interview with ABC News, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases addressed whether people should cover their eyes in addition to their mouth and nose.
"You have mucosa in the nose, mucosa in the mouth, but you also have mucosa in the eye," Fauci said. "Theoretically, you should protect all the mucosal surfaces. So if you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it."
He added that eye protection for the general public is "not universally recommended … but if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it if you can."
Fauci said there may come a point during the COVID-19 pandemic when wearing eye protection is an official recommendation.
"It might, if you really want perfect protection of the mucosal surfaces," he said.
The race to develop a vaccine for the virus continues, with several companies showing promising results in early trials. More than 17.2 million people worldwide have gotten sick and around 671,000 have died.
In the U.S., 4.5 million people have been sickened and more than 153,000 have died.
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