eye protection might be the missing key

Research Paper

Professor Peter Collignon AM is an Infectious Diseases physician and microbiologist at Canberra Hospital. He is also a Professor at the Australian National University Medical School.

Eye-protective face shields have been proposed to prevent community transmission. A large study showed that 19% of health-care workers became infected, despite wearing three-layered surgical masks, gloves, and shoe covers and using alcohol rub. After the introduction of face shields, no worker was infected.

In addition to masks, we should encourage essential workers to wear face shields. These protect your eyes, your face and also will help protect your mask from virus being deposited.

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WHO Recommendations - first responders must wear face shields

World Health Organisation guidelines

Dr Chris Brown from The Project interviews Professor Mary-Louise McLaws about all first responders must wear face shields.

Dr Chris Brown
Now saying a lot of essential workers like doctors, nurses and even police become infected, are we doing enough to protect them?

Professor Marylouise McLaws
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says in its guidelines on the fifth of June, that where prevalence of infection is high in those catchment areas for hospitals, every healthcare worker should wear a surgical grade mask in any clinical setting regardless of whether they're expecting a COVID patient. Now for police, for example, and similar essential services, they need to wear a face shield so people can see them talking. Because communication is important for them as well as healthcare workers, but they're more used to speaking through masks and face shields do provide a good level of protection for people like the police. So yes, they now need to start wearing them wherever they work. Both healthcare workers in hospitals and in aged care facilities and particularly those that work across different facilities. They have to wear a face shield or a face mask. No exceptions.

Dr Chris Brown
Should we all just be wearing shields and masks? I mean, we know that it spreads direct person to person. So shouldn't we all just be wearing them to try and ward this off anyway?

Professor Marylouise McLaws
I would suggest everybody has to wear them in public transport, in lifts, in planes, in airports. And I perhaps like to suggest that you should wear at least a face shield if you go into the football because it would be very hard to shout through the mask and you would potentially reduce the efficacy of the mask getting wet, but I'd like to see them wear a face shield.

Professor Marylouise McLaws
Face Shields Provide eye protection that a mask cannot

Australian Government Department of Health

When worn together with a properly fitted surgical mask, face shields offer protection from contamination to others, as well as to the wearer.

Where face masks are not available, face shields may be used as an alternative. Face shields offer some advantages and limitations.
Droplet protection directly in front of the wearer (but not to the sides or underneath the shield).

Some types of face shields may be cleaned, disinfected, and reused (depending on the manufacturer’s instructions).

The wearer’s face and facial expressions can be seen, which may be important when caring for some residents.

Provide eye protection that a surgical mask cannot give.

Australian Government face shield guidelines