The division of infectious diseases and PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia this month recommended that certain teachers opt for shields when schools reopen. It’s particularly important, the group said, for students who are deaf or hearing impaired or have autism spectrum disorder to be able to see the teacher’s entire face. The debate hinges on how the coronavirus spreads. Shield supporters say it travels primarily through large respiratory droplets that infect the body through mucus membranes in the nose, mouth and eyes. These generally fall quickly to the ground after, say, a cough and could be stopped almost completely by a shield. Like some other infectious disease doctors, Dr. Eli Perencevich, the lead author of the JAMA paper, noted that someone with a true airborne disease like measles can infect many more people than someone with COVID-19. Measles and chicken pox typically infect 90% of household members while the coronavirus infects 10-15%.
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