Kylie Jenner was recently seen going on a snack run without face protection – or shoes! A medical expert tells us EXCLUSIVELY if going barefoot increased Ky’s chances of catching coronavirus.
It seems that Kylie Jenner will do anything for kettle chips – even go out during a pandemic without any shoes or socks. The 21-year-old makeup mogul turned into the “barefoot billionaire” while picking up snacks at Anastasia Karanikolaou’s Los Angeles home on Apr. 19. With over 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California, did Kylie endanger her health by leaving her slides in the car? Not so, according to NYC Infectious Disease Doctor and Microbiologist Dr. Dean Hart, OD, MA, BS, AAS, FAAO. When asked if it’s a risky time for Kylie – or anyone – to walk barefoot outside, Dr. Hart tells HollywoodLIfe EXCLUSIVELY that, “I think right now, it is no [riskier] than any other time.”
HollywoodLife: So, COVID-19 does not live on the pavement?
Dr. Hart: Well, it might live on the pavement, but it won’t go through your feet. I would say you should worry about fungus and glass on the ground more than you would worry about COVID-19 in that particular scenario.
How come they’re telling you to take your shoes off at the door?
We take our shoes off at the beginning and the entrance of the house in almost every Eastern country — it’s standard. Now, in my kung fu class, it was standard, and the thing is, there’s a lot of that standard in this world, but in the United States, it is not typically standard from my observation. And the reason that it’s a good idea to take your shoes off at the front door — or right inside the door, really — because of the fungus [and] the bacteria. The black hydrocarbons. All those organic pollutants and inorganic pollutants are on the bottom of your shoes.
So, we’ve been told that you need to wipe everything down with Lysol before it comes into the house. And we need to drop our shoes and clothes in the garage and run to the shower. So why would it be okay to just walk around barefoot?
When you’re talking about clothes — having to take off your clothes — you’re talking about people that are talking to you and fomites come out of their mouth and possibly lading on your clothes. You could have a COVID virus on your hands.
So, COVID19 can or cannot live on the pavement?
It can last a little while, but it certainly can’t go through the bottom of your feet and make you sick.
So, you can’t track it into the house?
Tracking it into the house onto the floor, that is a wild stretch. There are much better mechanisms to go through to catch this. For example, somebody was just touching on the cell phone, or they have fomites have spit come out onto this thing that you touch, then you rub your eye. The mucous membrane of your eye is there, so the virus helps itself with its glycoprotein spikes and digs right into those cell membranes and unzips it and gets into your cells. That’s how it works from mucous membranes. There’s not much snot on your feet, except somebody else’s if you’re walking around without shoes.
So, it really isn’t a risky choice to walk around barefoot right now?
It is a risky choice — but not particularly related to any virus, like COVID.
[Walking around barefoot] is still disgusting because all that stuff I’ve listed, and you can’t take your feet off the front door. What are you going to do, go for a bath before you enter the house? Are you going to put shoes on when you get into your house? The whole thing is disgusting because there’s bacteria, fungus, and viruses. But I would not hang my reputation on saying that there is a risk of COVID because of walking on the street without shoes. That is just stretching, and I’m a microbiologist. You’re stretching it if you can get it that way.
If it were to happen, you’ve got to walk and not clean your feet. Then, you’ve got to get it on your wood floors, then — what are you doing, licking your floors? — or running them with your hand and sticking it in the eye? It’s not going through the skin, the only way COVID virus infects us and we are pretty damn confident about this is through the eyes, nose, mouth, eyes, and ears where the mucous membranes are. So like I said, the inorganic and organic things you can get on the bottom of your feet if you go barefoot include a myriad of fungus, molds, bacteria, and viruses. [Going barefoot] is not a likely route to get Covid19. I do not think one person has gotten COVID this way.
Dr. Dean Hart, OD, MA, BS, AAS, FAAO, is an NYC-based Infectious Disease Doctor and Microbiologist. For further information on COVID-19, how the coronavirus spreads, and how to protect yourself from the pandemic, consult this COVID-19 Q&A from the World Health Organization and/or this factsheet from the Center for Disease Control.