Face Shield vs. Face Mask: Which Provides Better Protection Against Coronavirus?


In an effort to battle COVID-19, face masks have become very common in the country. And while effective, some doctor are now saying that we should take the protection a step further and start wearing face shields instead.

Should We All Be Wearing Face Shields?

When the pandemic first hit, one of the earliest precautionary measures that we’re encouraged to make is to start wearing face masks in order to cover our mouths and noses because the coronavirus usually gets transmitted via air droplets from an infected person who either sneezed or coughed.

But as we continue to fight against COVID-19, doctors and health experts have started saying we need to take our protective measures a step further, and we can do so by wearing face shields instead. Of course, face shields are nothing new when it comes to medical settings since doctors and nurses who treat coronavirus patients have been using them for the longest time.

However, a lot of the same health experts are still split on whether children, teachers, and everyday citizens should also wear them as more and more states start to reopen.

“Face shields appear to have a number of advantages: They’re easy to wear correctly and good at blocking droplets. They’re really a better option for protection,” Eli Perencevich, an infectious disease doctor at the University of Iowa and the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System, said.

Recently, Perencevich and his colleagues published a new study in JAMA, where they argue that when it comes to protection against COVID, face shields have higher COVID-fighting potential than the standard face mask, especially when used alongside social distancing, contact tracing and increased testing.

Per Keith Kaye, a professor of medicine and director of research for the division of infectious diseases at the University of Michigan Medical School, face shields also come with the perk of being easily sanitized and reused. They’re also better for communication and leave a lot of room for comfort.

“I do think we’re going to see more and more face shield use. Particularly as COVID continues to cause problems,” she said.

face shieldAlone or with a face mask on, a face shield provides needed protection from virus-causing germs and bacteria while being transparent enough for some people to see your mouth for lip reading purposes. tom_bullock / Flickr