13 October 2020

A clear solution for face coverings?

Recently on social media, I’ve seen it suggested that clear plastic "mouth shields" are ideal cloth mask substitutes for performers because they allow the audience to see your facial expressions.

Before you throw away your cloth face masks, be sure to ask yourself (or the mouth shield manufacturer):

Is there scientific evidence to suggest their mouth shield is as good as cloth masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19?

If the manufacturer says that their mouth shields are just as effective as face shields in preventing the spread of COVID-19, consider that the health care community does not support the use of face shields alone as source control (not sharing your germs) or as protection (not getting other people's germs). [1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10]


Cheryl Brown of CBC News, published the following on August 29, 2020 in the article "Can I use a mouth shield instead of a mask? Your COVID-19 questions answered" [emphasis mine]:

  • "The experts say no."
  • "'I don't think they're a really good alternative at all,' said Dr. Susy Hota, medical director for infection prevention and control at the University Health Network in Toronto, in a recent interview on The National." and
  • "Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, also said he's 'not a fan' because mouth shields don't collect droplets like a mask would."


As you make your decision, please consider your health and the especially the health of those with whom you'll be spending your time.






[1] “Focus on: Face Shields for Source Control of COVID-19.” Public Health Ontario, 16 July 2020, www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/main/2020/07/covid-19-face-shields-source-control.pdf?la=en.
[2] Gray, Richard. “Why a Face Shield Alone May Not Protect You from Coronavirus.BBC News, BBC, 6 Aug. 2020, www.bbc.com/future/article/20200806-are-face-shields-effective-against-covid-19.
[3] Roberge, Raymond J. “Face Shields for Infection Control: A Review.Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, Taylor & Francis, 2016; 13(4): 235–242 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5015006/.
[4] Woods, Michael. “Face Shields vs. Face Masks: Which Is Better?CTV News, CTV, 14 July 2020, ottawa.ctvnews.ca/face-shields-vs-face-masks-which-is-better-1.5023909.
[5] Hensley, Laura. “Face Shields Are Easier to Talk in, but Are They Safer than Masks?Global News, Global News, 18 June 2020, globalnews.ca/news/7075262/face-shields-covid-19-coronavirus/.
[6] “Can a Face Shield Be Used as a Substitute or a Replacement for a Mask?” Ottawa Public Health, www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/masks.aspx.
[7] Duong, Diana. “Masks vs. Face Shields: Which One Is Safer?Healthing.ca, PostMedia, 27 July 2020, www.healthing.ca/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus/face-shields-vs-masks-guess-which-one-is-safer.
[8] Schimelpfening, Nancy. “Why Plastic Face Shields Aren't a Safe Alternative to Cloth Masks.Healthline, Healthline Media, 1 Sept. 2020, www.healthline.com/health-news/why-plastic-face-shields-arent-a-safe-alternative-to-cloth-masks.
[9] “COVID-19: Considerations for Wearing Masks.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 Aug. 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html.
[10] “Face Shield or Face Mask to Stop the Spread of COVID-19?ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 1 Sept. 2020, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200901112231.htm.

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