Is a face shield alone enough protection from COVID-19? Experts answer pandemic questions.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
July 24, 2020

Many businesses are open. Mask orders have been implemented as cases are trending up. We are tracking the numbers, but many of you have questions about how we can protect ourselves and others. What can we do to slow the transmission of COVID-19?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has assembled a panel of experts from the University of Wisconsin’s Madison and Milwaukee campuses. They will periodically answer questions from readers. This is the most recent installment. Read the earlier ones here, here and here.

We also have doctors answering your personal health questions. And here are other pieces discussing risks and answering your questions. 

Please keep in mind scientists and doctors continue to learn much about this new virus, and guidance is changing. They will provide the best information that is available.

We will have experts answer more questions as we get them. Scroll to the bottom of this story to submit your own question or click here.

When I am in stores requiring a mask, I see many people wearing clear face shields without a mask. Does wearing face shields without a mask covering the nose and mouth protect others or the wearer?

Face shields, which are a transparent rigid plastic barrier that covers the face from ear to ear and from forehead to the bottom of the chin, provide some protection against large droplets expelled into the environment by others from landing on the wearer’s face, particularly the eyes. While they are appealing because they provide a better view of a person’s face than cloth face masks, individuals may still come in contact with smaller droplets that make their way past the sides and bottom of a face shield. In addition, since face shields are open on the sides and bottom, they do not prevent droplets expelled by the wearer from leaking out into the environment to the same extent as masks that fit snugly on the face. For this reason, wearing a face shield alone is not recommended, but can add another layer of protection on top of a cloth face mask. For more information on face shields, see a related post on the Dear Pandemic Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dearpandemic/posts/162173815411274

Amanda M. Simanek, PhD, MPH, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Zilber School of Public Health and associate editor for the Dear Pandemic Facebook page.

Read the full article here.