How effective are face shields? Health officials speak out

Public Health spokesman Jason Davis said it is effective at preventing water droplets from spraying out of an individual’s mouth.

Posted: Jul 15, 2020 6:47 PM
Updated: Jul 20, 2020 1:05 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Gov. Kate Brown’s latest mask mandate went into effect today, requiring individuals to wear a face covering outdoors when six feet of distance cannot be maintained.

RELATED: GOV. BROWN: PRIVATE GATHERINGS LIMITED TO 10; FACE MASK RULES EXPANDED

While a face covering can come in multiple forms, many wonder just how effective face shields really are.

Public Health spokesman Jason Davis said it is effective at preventing water droplets from spraying out of an individual’s mouth.

“They pretty much provide a 100% sort of forward trajectory protection from that,” Davis said. “So, if you think about what a face shield really does is it puts a barrier directly in front of you. It doesn’t necessarily account for potential airborne transmission where vapor can come out of your mouth or nose and then sort of escape out of the sides or bottom. But it is really effective for any sort of that forward trajectory.”

Davis said that a face shield can be a great option for those who have difficult breathing with a traditional mask.

“If you see in the governor’s guidance, they’ve talked about using the face shield for children because they do provide for slightly easier breathing,” Davis said. "So, it’s a nice option for kids as well if you want to reduce the amount of water vapor coming form their mouth.”

While a face mask may seem more practical for everyday use, it’s not the only option out there.

“If you are working in close quarters with someone for a long period of time, that’s really the best option, but face shields do provide definitely provide a level of protection and are a good compromise if a mask just can't be worn,” Davis said.

The community responded with their thoughts about the new face covering rule.

“I will of course still keep my mask on,” Eugene resident Russell Barry said. “I stay out of long lines. I go at non-peak areas and stay out of large groups. But I don’t tell other people what they should do. I’m not a Karen or a Ken.”

Others shared they are concerned about those who are not taking the new rules as seriously.

“I think that we should be putting masks on,” Eugene resident Nancy Timreh said. “I think we should be thinking more about one another than what I see happening. I’m particularly concerned when I walk these bike paths but runners who are breathing hard and huffing and puffing. That seems to me a point of spread right there that’s not being looked at very well.”

The new requirement went into effect Wednesday. As of Monday, indoor gatherings greater than 10 individuals are banned. This is with the exception of business operations and church gatherings.

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