Study: Face shields fail to provide high levels of protection against COVID
During the pandemic, face shields have become part of everyday attire for many people hoping to protect themselves against COVID-19. However, a new study has tested the protection offered by face shields and found that many fail to offer high levels of protection against external droplets.
Researchers at the University of East Anglia tested 13 face shields using a ‘coughing machine’ to mimic a person facing someone coughing or sneezing nearby.
The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Julii Brainard, said in a press release that while some face shields provide some protection against droplets, not all managed to fully protect them.
“We found that large gaps at the sides, and sometimes at the bottom or top, allow respiratory droplets from other people to reach the face, which means exposure to possible viruses,” Brainard said in A press release.
“The shields that offered the most protection were closed across the forehead and extended well down the sides of the face and under the chin,” she said.
Face shields have become popular with some people because they allow people to communicate and breathe more naturally compared to wearing a face mask, the researchers said.
Additionally, the study surveyed over 600 people in Nigeria and Brazil to understand their experience with face shields. Many low- and middle-income countries often relied solely on face shields because they were easier to obtain in times of global shortages of personal protective equipment.
“Unsurprisingly, we’ve found that people want proven protection products that are comfortable, stable on their head, easy to clean, and don’t look weird,” Brainard said.