WHO: Face shields alone not enough to protect against COVID-19

The World Health Organization has updated its mask guidance saying that plastic face shields are not enough to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

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The WHO said in the update that face shields cannot replace mask-wearing and other safety guidelines of social distancing. The devices do not block respiratory droplets, making them an inferior alternative when masks can’t be worn either due to availability or difficulty, Fox News reported.

A recent study conducted by UCLA found that a face shield alone will only reduce airborne particles by about 4%, KTLA reported.

“This is likely because the face shield does not fit the face snugly, and thus, cough droplets can escape from the open gaps around the shield,” researchers said, according to KTLA.

You can read that study here.

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In September, The Associated Press had reported that health officials don’t recommend the shields as a replacement for masks but said they could be used in conjunction with a face mask, to help protect eyes and giving a physical barrier to block wearers from touching their face.

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If you decide that you want to wear a shield, some offer better protection than others, the AP reported. They should have a hood or wrap around the sides or bottom of the face, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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In addition to the guidance surrounding face shields, the WHO advised the public to wear a non-medical grade mask inside where physical distancing of a meter — or about 3 feet — can’t be maintained, CTV reported. The group reminded that masks with valves should not be used, and masks should not be worn during vigorous physical activity.

For the latest recommendations concerning masks from the WHO, click here.

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