Are face shields, most frequently used in health care settings, a better option? Some experts say no, some say yes, and others advise to wear face shields together with a mask. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend wearing face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are challenging to maintain. Some health experts say face shields appear to be very effective at preventing infection (maybe even more so than masks) for someone going about regular daily activities and not in a high-risk health care setting.
Amesh Adalja, M.D., a pandemic preparedness expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, says, “There’s a lot of at least biological possibility to suspect that shields are definitely better than homemade face masks, and maybe even better than other types of masks as well, because they not only prevent you from spreading it and because it also covers your eyes, it provides more protection to the mucus membranes of your face where you might be getting infected.”
The biggest argument with experts that favor the shields is that face shields remind the wearer not to touch the face and others around to keep the social distance. This is especially effective with young children in school settings where social distance is hard to maintain. Face shields are reusable and easy to keep clean and disinfected after each use.
Dr. James Cherry, a distinguished research professor and infectious disease expert at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, points out measles and adenoviruses as examples of viruses that are known to infect people through their eyes. He is suggesting that, with coronavirus, eye protection is essential. There is also a collection of interviews from COVID-19 infected patients published on AARP that believe that reason for their infection was lack of eye protection and with a face mask being used.