3 July 2020,

The COVID-19 pandemic presents enormous challenges. A newly emerged virus to which the world’s population has no immunity, coupled with the fast movement of people throughout the globe, has set the stage for an outbreak of proportions not seen in the final century.

For an infection with this virus to happen, it must come into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth. This occurs when droplets produced by an infected individual (via talking, coughing or sneezing), land on the face of one other person. These infectious droplets can travel as much as 6 toes, which is the reason to promote social distancing. Touching a surface that is contaminated with infectious droplets after which touching one’s own eyes, nostril or mouth, is one other way for infection to occur. Due to this fact, the important thing to avoiding an infection is to have these areas of the face covered.

In hospitals, face masks and goggles are typically used to prevent publicity to infectious droplets. However, face masks shortages are occurring because of interruptions in the provide chain, which is deeply rooted in China and disrupted by the pandemic. Some health care workers have been compelled to resort to scarves and bandannas in a final-ditch try and protect themselves while providing care. Even when plentiful, face masks are usually not without problems. Once they develop into wet from the humidity in exhaled air, they lose effectiveness. In addition, some people touch their face more typically to adjust the mask, which will increase the risk of an infection if the palms are contaminated.

Cloth masks, though higher than nothing, have been shown to be less protective than medical-grade face masks.

We imagine that face shields provide a greater solution. There are numerous types, but all use clear plastic materials attached to a headpiece to cover the eyes, nostril and mouth, thereby preventing infectious droplets from contacting these areas the place the virus can enter the body. They cover more of the face than masks and stop the wearer from touching their face. Importantly, face shields are durable, might be cleaned after use, reused repeatedly, and for many individuals are more comfortable than face masks. Because these shields are reusable and are diversified across the supply chains of multiple industries, the present provide is less limited than for face masks. They’ll even be made at residence with objects from office supply and craft stores.

Every health care worker wants a face shield for protection at work. While face masks are nonetheless wanted in some conditions, implementation of face shields will drastically reduce the necessity for face masks and lengthen the restricted national supply of masks. Engineers have produced designs for face shields which can be in the public domain, and fabrication at scale is comparatively simple. To make sure that each health care worker has a face shield, production will need to ramp as much as meet the demand through current producers and recruitment of additional factories. Because the design is easy, huge fast production wouldn’t be difficult.

Once the health care workforce is equipped, distribution to the public ought to begin, with a goal to provide a face shield to each individual in the country. It needs to be worn anytime a person leaves their dwelling, while in any public place, and even at work. Though shelter-at-home approaches are wanted to “bend the curve” of this pandemic, the following societal disruption limits the time that political leaders are willing to maintain such measures. Once each particular person is shielded, however, reducing restrictions on movement would carry less risk. Universal shielding may reduce reliance on social distancing since infectious droplets can’t reach the face of susceptible individuals. Handwashing, nonetheless, would remain essential to maintain people from infecting themselves with virus discovered on the arms after touching contaminated surfaces.

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