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Researchers in Mexico show off nose masks, San Diego doctors wary

Researchers say the masks can provide protection from COVID while eating or drinking but doctors aren't so sure.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Researchers in Mexico say they have figured out a way to keep people somewhat protected from COVID while eating or drinking, by wearing masks that only cover the nose.

While they may look funny, the masks are designed to cover the nose area, which is a proven pathway for COVID to enter. But, some experts warn COVID can also be transmitted through the mouth and eyes.

"The nose mask would provide a false level of reassurance of safety," said Dr. Edward Cachay, a professor in the Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health at UC San Diego.

Dr. Cachay worries if someone wears a nose mask, they may not feel the need to abide by other safety measures like social distancing.

Plus, he said it diminishes what both the CDC and the World Health Organization recommend when it comes to wearing a mask.

“The only proper way to use a mask is a mask that covers nicely and tightly, the nose, the mouth and the chin," Dr. Cachay said.

While some could argue a small amount of protection is better than none, Dr. Cachay said now is not the time to let down your guard.

“We all have a role to play....wear a mask, get vaccinated, and social distance. We are getting close,” said Dr. Cachay.

At this point, it’s unclear what company is actually making these masks or when they could become available to the public.

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