From web post by Michael B. Edmond (April 11, 2020):
Our goal should be to have a face shield for every person in the country. It should be worn anytime a person leaves their home, while in any public place, and even at work. From news reports, it appears that face shields are already being more commonly worn in other nations, particularly in some Asian countries.
The advantages of face shields are their durability allowing them to be worn an indefinite number of times, the ability to easily clean them after use, their comfort, and they prevent the wearer from touching their face. Importantly, they cover all the portals of entry for this virus–the eyes, the nose, and the mouth. Moreover, the supply chain is significantly more diversified than that of face masks, so availability is much greater.
Some are critical of any strategy that isn’t perfect. But let’s think about the influenza vaccine. Although the effectiveness varies from year to year, on average it’s 40%. We push this vaccine hard in the hospital and in the community. Could we expect that face shields are at least 40% effective in reducing the transmission of COVID-19? I think so. Universal shielding would bend the curve more quickly and accelerate the ability to reduce social distancing and restrictions on movement.
Face shields are a simple solution that if implemented universally would have a major impact on public health. Until we have a vaccine, this may be our best intervention for preventing transmission in the community.
Michael B. Edmond, MD, MPH, MPA, MBA
is the Chief Quality Officer and Associate Chief Medical Officer for University of Iowa Health Care and Clinical Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
. He previously served as the Richard P. Wenzel Professor of Internal Medicine, Chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Hospital Epidemiologist at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.