What happened to face shields?

Early in the pandemic, a few folks were wearing clear face shields instead of or in addition to cloth/surgical masks. They supposedly offered some protection against large droplets, especially for the eyes. Now we’re being told that cloth masks aren’t good enough and we need N-95s, but I haven’t seen face shields making a comeback. Did they never really work as advertised?

IIRC, the CDC eventually advised that they were ineffective, and the people who insisted on wearing visors instead of masks just evolved into anti-maskers outright.

I still occasionally see people wearing face shields at the grocery store, always in addition to a face mask, not instead of.

I wear them in addition to my N95 when dealing with covid patients where I have to examine their mouths and throats, etc. And other high risk situations.

Early on fomites and droplets were seen as a main contamination vector. As evidence for aerosols being the primary driver grew the need to minimize exhalation of the virus meant mask were more effective.

Some roles (say dental assistant) likely want some defense in depth, so patients (and providers) wear masks and the provider adds on a face shield

Face shields really just offer splash protection. If you are in an environment where infected material may splash or be projected into your face, a facemask can protect you from that. This is likely in a hospital or dentist office. It can also be useful if you are talking closely with people who aren’t wearing a mask and may project spittle. But it offers virtually no protection against aerosolized droplets that may be floating in the air and get breathed in. A facemask alone is worthless for protecting against the virus. But a facemask in addition to a mask will prevent splash contact onto your face.

My daughter has worn a mask and face shield combination (as a nurse) ever since the pandemic began. She has had patients scream, leaving spittle on her face shield. Of course she is vaccinated/boostered. She is tested at least once a week and has never had a positive test.

I know an ativaxx nutjob woman who wears a face shield at work (no mask). She walks around with her nose pointing toward the ceiling, looking down toward whoever she is trying to communicate with for some reason.

My doctor, dentist and dental technicians wear face shields (and masks) in the exam room.

This. I visited the dentist last summer, when COVID prevalence was at a low. The hygienist was wearing a surgical mask and a faceshield, and honestly both of those items seemed like a good idea even before COVID came along. Cleaning someone’s teeth pretty much guarantees bits of plaque go flying during the scraping work, all kinds of stuff gets flung during the polishing work, and aerosolized droplets are happen just about any time anything at all is happening in the patient’s mouth.

Face masks don’t work in the water, so swimming instructors around here wear shields instead. Better than nothing.

I saw one last week wearing one instead of a mask. Kinda not how it’s supposed to be done, but what can you do? It surprised me, as it’s been ages.

I went for my booster this morning at a county-run mass vax site and the nurses giving the injections were all wearing face shields.

Exactly. Not just large droplets, but aerosols that get sprayed right in your face. Obviously nothing besides those heavy-duty respirators will protect you as much as a face shield. Of course a mask has to be worn underneath to prevent entry of the floating aerosols.

Before I was vaccinated, I wore a face shield with my mask when I was teaching labs. I frequently had to get pretty close to students to show them something.

Face shields do something else that is pretty important. Talking and breathing and coughing and sneezing propel the breath several feet. A shield redirects the flow, generally in a direction other than towards whoever the person is speaking with.

They’re not nearly good enough, and I’m all about N95s, but to be accurate they’re good for more than just big droplets of spittle.

I had to wear one as a poll worker for the 2020 election. Horrible thing, they fog up and I sweat all over it.

Interesting; I didn’t experience the fogging when I wore one, but I did feel like my vision was just a little blurry.