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Connect the Dots: Do face shields work as well as masks?

Health experts are split on which one to recommend.

As we try to stop the spread of coronavirus face masks are now required by many communities, but do face shields work just as well? Let’s connect the dots.

Face shields are a popular option for some. 

The clear plastic shield worn on a head band isn’t as hot as a traditional cloth face mask and allows you to do things like drink without taking it off. You see them often in health care settings because they offer an added layer of protection, especially for your eyes. But in that instance they are often worn with a surgical mask. So do they work on their own?

Health experts are split on that question. A senior scholar with Johns Hopkins says they may be a better option because they are more comfortable, meaning you would be more likely to use it. Also he says since you are less likely to touch your face compared to a cloth mask there would be less contamination. Plus, protecting your eyes is important because doctors say the virus can get in that way.

The CDC does not recommend the general public use shields, saying it’s not clear if it protects others from your respiratory particles. And a researcher who looked at shields and the flu says we should stick with cloth faced masks… because the shields do not do as good as job with tiny particles that can go around the sides and bottoms.


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