No, You Don’t Have to Shave Your Beard to Fend Off COVID-19

A Twitter page claimed shaving of facial hair ensures safety from COVID-19, further attributing the message to the CDC.

Results from our research show that the message from Today .ng’s article is a misappropriation of a 2017 NOISH publication; a notification directed at workers using respirators in carrying out their tasks. It has nothing to do with preventing the spread of coronavirus.

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On February 28, following the announcement by the Nigerian health authorities, the massive civil unrest was palpable. On this day, Nigeria became the third African country to detect coronavirus after Algeria and Egypt. Reports have it that, the virus’ point of entry was an Italian on a business trip on February 25.  

Amid the uproar, Twitter received a claim by Nigeria Newsdesk, attributed to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. It says, “To be safe from coronavirus, shave your beard.”  

When we checked the link attached to the post, it led us here, an article from The publication demystifying the headline revealed that the United States’ CDC has warned that facial hair can interfere with facemasks and respirators; as they are widely used to prevent the global spread of COVID-19.

Further, an infographic attached to the article bears a CDC logo, showing different types of beards style. The image indicates which beard style is suitable for the mask/respirator with a green tick; the unsuitable one gets a red cancel sign.  



This claim is undoubtedly a headscratcher, awakening all your sceptic bones. The question, what is the correlation between coronavirus and facial hair (beards)? Besides this, the article did not indicate when or where the CDC made the announcement. More soo, the article still refers to the virus as 2019-nCoV and not COVID-19, its official name.

Firstly, our verification commenced at the scene of the crime, the would-be infographic from the CDC. Our search initially panned fruitless as we could not find anything helpful on the health institute’s website. Next, we searched CDC Twitter posts from when coronavirus broke till present but found nothing still. Could it be that the site manufactured the image itself? 

Nothing to do with COVID-19

Dubawa’s reverse image search on TinEye provided only five results from which we found this – a CDC NIOSH publication from November 2, 2017. We found that NIOSH -National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health – is a division of CDC, set up to research and make recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness.

Excerpt from CDC
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One Comment

  1. if you try to protect yourself from inhaling coronavirus particles by wearing a facemask, the mask must fit snugly against your face to seal properly. if you have facial hair the mask will not fit snugly and the infected droplets may sneak into your nose around the edges of the mask. a moustache will not affect the function of the mask as long as it does not touch the edge of the mask and affect the seal. properly wearing a mask snugly sealed on your face will give a level of protection. also wash your hands carefully with soap and water every time before you touch your face or eat anything.
    By carefully following these two safety steps, you decrease your chance of catching COVID-19

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