Dr Joseph Fair believes he caught coronavirus through his eyes while on a flight in the US.
Dr Joseph Fair believes he caught coronavirus through his eyes while on a flight in the US.

Doctor caught virus ‘through his eyes’

A doctor and TV news contributor hospitalised with severe coronavirus believes he contracted the virus "through his eyes" while on a recent flight in the US.

Epidemiologist and virologist Dr Joseph Fair became sick three days after catching a crowded flight to his home in New Orleans.

Dr Fair told NBC News he took precautions on the flight, including wearing a mask and gloves and using sanitisers but began to feel ill three days later.

"I had a mask on, I had gloves on, I did my normal wipes routine … but obviously, you can still get it through your eyes," he said, adding he wasn't wearing goggles on the flight.

Dr Fair said he believes he contracted the virus through his eyes.
Dr Fair said he believes he contracted the virus through his eyes.

 

"That's one of the three known routes of getting this infection that we just don't pay a lot of attention to. We tend to pay attention to the nose and mouth, because that is the most common route," he added.

He warned that "droplets getting on your eyes" are just as infectious as them getting in your mouth or nose.

 

He said the flight was crowded and passengers were "packed in like sardines". He felt instinctively like he should have left the flight before it departed, but didn't.

The coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets from an infected person which can spread in the air, through coughs or sneezes, or on surfaces.

These droplets can infect others with contact, or through the air. If infected droplets are on the surface, and you were to touch that surface and then touch your face, or eyes, for example, you would be at high risk of infection.

Dr Fair said his symptoms began with him losing his sense of taste, and progressed to him only being able to take in 25 per cent oxygen. At this point he went to hospital.

He required oxygen treatment in hospital after he asked not be intubated. Dr Fair is no longer in a critical condition and has since tested negative for the virus.

He warned others not to be complacent about coronavirus, saying he was a runner and before contracting the virus he felt he was in the "peak condition" of his life.

"You don't want to have it, that's all I have to tell you," Dr Fair said.

Originally published as Doctor caught virus 'through his eyes'


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