Coronavirus Blackboard

Topic 12: Face Shield for COVID Prevention

Question: Should the general public shift from face mask to face shield for COVID prevention?

Answer: The main recommended face covering to prevent COVID transmission in the general public is still face mask (either medical or cloth). However, a few experts have started advocating for wider use of face shield because it has some advantages. Face shield is better than nothing when physical distance cannot be maintained.

In an experiment, face shield reduced inhaled virus and small particle aerosols by 92% and 68%, respectively (Lindsley 2014). While the virus tested was not COVID coronavirus, the study indicates that face shield should prevent coronavirus transmission to some extent. Rigorous studies to see how well face shield works to prevent COVID coronavirus are difficult to perform since the risks of such experiments may be unacceptably great. This means it is going to be hard to tell for sure how face shield compares to face mask.

Advocates of face shield mention the following as advantages of face shield when compared to face mask:

  • It can be reused repeatedly
  • Cleaning can be done with soap and water
  • Talking is easier while wearing one 
  • Prevents inadvertent touching of the eyes that may lead to coronavirus transmission

To get the most out of wearing a face shield, it should extend downwards to the chin and reach the ears while leaving no space between the shield and forehead. Should you start using face shield instead of face mask? Our advice is you should periodically check the recommendations of your local health authorities and follow them.

Join us at the next CUTICA Health CORONAVIRUS – Blackboard.


Subscribe to our free articles, expert reports, podcasts and news reports