Face shields alone 'do little' to protect from virus, Houston's public health chief says

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Thursday, December 17, 2020
Face shields alone 'ineffective' against virus, Houston health chief says
If you've been wearing face shields more than masks while in public, hit play in the video. Houston's top public health authority is giving reasons why you might need to choose masks more.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The city of Houston reported more than 1,500 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, and as the Christmas holiday approaches, the city's health leader has a message for those who favor wearing a face shield more than a mask.

"I'm seeing more and more people wearing these face shields and not wearing masks," said Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse. "Those face shields do very little to protect anyone from anybody."

SEE ALSO: What face masks work best?

The debate over face shields and face masks has long been discussed since the start of the pandemic. Face shields can prevent droplets from getting onto your face and keep you from touching your face and don't get as hot as face masks.

But according to Persse, face shields should be considered "not effective at all" when compared to masks.

SEE ALSO: Experts compare face shield vs. face mask effectiveness

Hear from one doctor who recommends face shields due to these key benefits.

"They are in addition," explained Persse. "If you're wearing a cloth mask, that mostly protects the people around you. It does protect you some, but it mostly protects the people around you. [With] a clear plastic shield, your exhaled air goes everywhere, so it doesn't protect anyone around you."

A total of 1,514 new cases were reported on Wednesday, bringing the city's total to 107,156.

Persse said the large number of new cases could possibly be related, to some degree, to the Thanksgiving holiday. He said 97% of the new cases reported are from the last 14 days.

"That's a lot of new cases," said Persse. "This needs to strike home. A lot of us need to pay close attention. Let's not lose sight."

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been asked if shields are as good as masks.

"I don't think we have data yet that a shield is better or worse," Dr. Anne Schucat with the CDC said at the time. "We are recommending for the consumer, we are saying the cloth face mask is what we are recommending."

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