Wearing a mask can protect yourself and those around you from exposure to COVID-19.
However, recently, people have begun to switch to using face shields as an alternative to protection from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
This is because not a few people feel uncomfortable when using masks.
However, is the face shield safe in protecting someone from the transmission of the coronavirus?
Reporting from the Healthline page, Friday, August 28, 2020, Chief Medical Officer for Health Care at the University of Iowa, and clinical professor of infectious diseases at the University of Iowa Carver School of Medicine, Dr. Michael B. Edmond, MPH, MPA, MBA, face shields can indeed reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
However, clinical assistant professor, VAMC Section, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Joy Henningsen, explained that they do not yet have any data on whether face shields alone can help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus from infected people.
“But, the face shield can protect the wearer from infected people when used with a mask,” he said.
Then how effective is the face shield?
Even though a face shield can prevent the risk of contracting the coronavirus, Edmond doesn’t know whether a face shield is more effective than using a mask.
However, Emond points to an unpublished study that found a face shield can provide better protection than a face mask, in protecting the wearer from coughing up someone 24 inches away.
Even so, Henningsen also points to other studies carried out after the COVID-19 outbreak in Switzerland.
In the study, none of the people wearing masks tested positive for the virus.
However, some people wearing only face shields have tested positive.
The conclusion? A face shield is good protection for a face covering, but should not be used as a substitute for a mask.
He adds, “Face shield, regular hand washing, physical distancing and staying at home as much as possible are very good protections.
Add a face shield to all those necessary practices and you will go from ‘good’ to ‘great’.”