Local doctor explains what the public should do to protect themselves against the coronavirus

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After FOX13 aired a story earlier this week about a woman who was wearing trash bags on her face and feet to protect herself from the coronavirus, we reached out to doctors to find out what the public needs to do to protect themselves.

It’s also important to remember that every single person has a voice and sometimes stories like this can create fear in our community.

But what happens when you don’t know what to do in the time of a crisis or what steps to take? Doctors told FOX13 some of the steps won’t cost you a dime.

A Memphis woman wearing trash bags on her face and feet to protect herself from the coronavirus and a parent spraying what appeared to be disinfected spray on his child is getting national and international attention. That attention created controversy with many saying it reflected poorly on Memphis and people of color.

Wendi Thomas, founder of MLK 50 took to social media asking, “Was there a way to tell the story about lack of public health information and not just clickbait?”

Rev. Earle Fisher told FOX13, “I think the woman who had this protective gear on is exemplifying her commitment to her own safety and her own health."

West Memphis Medical Director Shakeb Hashmi told FOX13 the images are not unusual during times of a crisis.

“It’s misinformation, mass hysteria, " he said. “I’ve gone through some epidemics in the past. This is natural, human. People get scared and they will do anything and they will go to any extent possible to protect themselves.”

Reverend Fisher said, “Nevertheless, we know healthcare disparities impact certain communities, usually certain communities of color usually disproportionately more than they do other communities."

Hashmi told FOX13 even though the Memphis woman is doing something to isolate herself, a person shouldn’t do that in public or spray what appears to be disinfected spray on a child. He told FOX13 that what people need to do is stand about six feet away from a person, use masks properly, and wash their hands several times a day.

FOX13 asked Dr. Hashmi what people who don’t have that access to healthcare should do.

“This is a digital era and I’m sure people have access to the internet and the CDC has a very good website and they update every day about all the statistics worldwide,” said Hashmi. “Our phones are always open and I recommend the physicians in the community if they have extra supplies of masks and gloves to give it to the high-risk patients.”

Many healthcare providers are giving away masks to their patients free of charge. The masks work best to keep people from spreading germs and getting others sick.