Shields prevent people from touching their faces, too, whereas masks can sometimes do the opposite. Additionally, shields can be reused after being washed with soap and water or wiped with disinfectant. They also allow people to see facial expressions and read lips, which is important for the millions of Americans who are deaf or hearing-impaired.
And while shields might look a little strange—they haven’t become a common sight yet in the U.S., even though they have become popular in Asia—they are far more comfortable than masks are and they allow for easier breathing. “You literally forget you have them on,” Dr. Perencevich says.
“The upsides of the shields make them a cheap and easy way to protect one another,” Dr. Fisman says. In a set of policy and public health recommendations released in April 2020, the Infectious Diseases Society of America began recommending the use of face shields as a protective measure against the coronavirus, in addition to other methods such as masks.
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