COVID-19: Can face shields replace masks ?

Masks have been worn to prevent the Coronavirus since the outbreak in December 2019, but face shields are becoming more popular in some countries.

COVID19 Face shields are  an intergal part of the Personal Protection Equipment- PPE, worn by health care givers. But as these shields gain an increasing become popular,  many are now faced with the challenge of making a choice between wearing face shields or masks.

Although masks are worn in most countries by default, the growing preference for face shields has questioned its possibility of replacing masks.

Face  shields or masks  ?

Experts say no study has proven that face shields can replace masks as a protection against the deadly virus.

According to Dr. Lucien Mama, Head of the Cité Verte Health District, ‘face shields can never replace masks’. He holds that each plays a specific role, but masks are more effective in preventing the Coronavirus.

“A face shield can never replace a mask. It  only serves as a transparent shield for the eyes, mouth and entire face. A mask filters the respiratory exchanges via the nose and the mouth , and it’s more specific to fight the spread of the Coronavirus. But there are masks incorporated into face shields”.

The Ministry of Health in Singapore adds that the virus is spread by droplets and the face shields do not offer complete protection as it leaves a gap between the face and shield.

Only children aged 12 and below in Singapore  are allowed to wear face shields because they are not disciplined with  masks, and would pull them down without restraint.

However, some scientists say face shields are more comfortable to wear, and provide a barrier that makes it difficult for people to touch their faces.

Face shields are also known to facilitate communication , are reusable and easily cleaned with disinfectants.

Contrarily, masks produce a lot of heat, can be easily pulled down , thereby increasing the risk of infections. They also pose a serious concern for persons suffering from respiratory diseases .

Notwithstanding, masks are said to be portable, and can be worn anywhere.

Studies have also proven that masks are very effective in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.

Accordingly, face shields remain a manageable alternative for masks, but not entirely adapted to prevent the spread of the virus.


Kathy Neba Sina

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