Face shields and their effectiveness in preventing transmission of COVID-19

The transmission of COVID-19 “is believed to be predominantly through respiratory droplets from infected persons in close proximity to uninfected persons, although airborne transmission may also play a role. Face shields have been proposed to prevent transmission in the community.” This study describes “transmission in a community setting [in India] before and after the use of face shields.”

Featured article:

Bhaskar ME, Arun S. (2020). SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Community Health Workers in India Before and After Use of Face Shields. JAMA. Published online August 17, 2020. [PDF] [Cited by]

“Before face shields, 62 workers (40 women) visited 5880 homes with 31 164 persons. From the 5880 homes visited, 222 persons tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, between May 4 to May 13. Twelve workers (19%) were infected during this period. Eight developed symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, myalgia, and anosmia) and 4 were asymptomatic.

After face shields, 50 workers (previously uninfected) continued to provide counseling, visiting 18 228 homes. Among the counseled, 118 428 persons, 2682 subsequently tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. No worker developed asymptomatic or symptomatic infection.

This study found no SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] infections among community health workers after the addition of face shields to their personal protective equipment. The face shields may have reduced ocular exposure or contamination of masks or hands or may have diverted movement of air around the face.

Further investigation of face shields in community settings is warranted.”

See also —

The use of face masks/face shields to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases–are they effective? (bibliography)

Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19

Questions? Please let me know (engelk@grinnell.edu).

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