Ever since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, medical experts have been peddling the recommendation of everyone picking up a face mask to reduce transmission. But what about a face shield?
According to Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in Baltimore, face shields could eventually replace face masks. Why would they? Well, they appear to be overall superior for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, the plexiglass covers the users' entire face, protecting key entry points such as the eyes. Face shields have also been proven to reduce viral exposure by 96% when worn within 18 inches of a cough, and 92% at the current social distancing guideline of 6 feet.
Other benefits of face shields include the fact that users can see the entire face of a person, making conversations much easier than if both people were wearing a mask. People wearing masks will have a muffed voice, which can result in some users pulling the mask down to communicate with someone accurately. This isn't a problem with a face shield as the users' voice isn't muffed, and their face is in full view. There is also the benefit of the face shields being reusable via washing.
So what are the downsides? According to Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic Children's Center, face shields "protects you, the wearer. But if you cough, because this face shield is away from your face, those droplets can still get out better than if you have a mask on, where they basically get sucked up by the mask itself." On top of that, "We know this virus likes to live on plastic a lot better than it likes to live on porous materials like cloth, paper or cardboard."
If you are interested in reading more about this subject, check out this link here for a more in-depth look at face shields and masks.
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