Monday 26 October, 2020

Face masks versus face shields: Epidemiologist weighs in

Stock image

Stock image

Are face masks better than face shields for COVID-19 protection?

Principal Medical Officer of Health for Epidemiology, Dr Naresh Nandram said a face mask provides greater protection than a shield.

He said if someone is wearing a face mask they are less likely to transmit the virus.

Dr Nandram was responding to reports that an asthmatic passenger wearing a face shield was prevented from entering a water taxi.

He said: "If someone has a mask on they are less likely to transmit the virus. A mask would also afford us a certain degree of protection against the virus. A face shield on the other hand simply protects splash against someone's mucus membrane directly. It still is very possible for someone with a face shield to contract COVID-19."

Dr Nandram also pleaded with with citizens to continue wearing masks.

"I know of several clinicians that have asthmatic conditions and other conditions and they wear masks all day. I've been in surgeries that last for hours with colleagues that are severe asthmatics wearing masks the full way...It's not just about you. It's about protecting everyone. Please continue to wear your masks."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC has recommended that people wear masks in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

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