The more layers of protection covering your face, the better, say health officials. This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci recommended that we wear goggles or face shields to help prevent the transmission of the coronavirus, but emphasized that this extra layer of safety should be used only in addition to wearing a face mask.
According to ABC News, epidemiologist Dr. John Brownstein of Boston Children’s Hospital said face shields are not an alternative to masks.
“High-quality masks are still the gold standard,” he said. A recent outbreak in a Swiss hotel proved his point. Staffers who only wore plastic visors over their faces were infected with COVID-19, while “there was not a single infection among employees with a mask,” according to a report.
However, the demand for shields is high and companies that manufacture them say people across the country are using them as an extra layer of protection but also as their only source of face covering.
“We are seeing that people who otherwise wouldn’t wear a mask say, ‘You know what, I’ll try one of those,'” said Josh Hildebrand, who makes 3D printed face shields, according to ABC News.
While Dr. Brownstein said that “wearing a face shield is clearly better than no protection at all,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website that it is “not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles.”
Shields are recommended for healthcare workers because they cover their eyes, which may be a source of transmission. They also prevent people from touching their faces, ABC noted.
Some school districts in Florida and Ohio have given shields the green light to be used on school grounds as an alternative to face masks as a last-ditch effort to provide some barrier for those who won’t comply to wearing a face mask, according to ABC News.