Face shields will no Longer be Equivalent to the use of a Mask, According to the Ministry of Health

The face shield will no longer replace the use of masks as of September 9th, when the new economic re-opening phase begins. The use of masks as personal protective equipment will be mandatory in closed public spaces.

This was announced by the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, on August 28th during the daily press conference held at the Presidential House. The change will take place before the economic opening, he indicated.

“In closed spaces, where there is little air circulation, it is important to wear a mask, recommended even under a face shield. But taking into account that as of September 9th we will have a greater opening phase, the guidelines will be changed,” Salas said.

“Masks will be mandatory in closed public service spaces. The face shields will always be complementary. The use of masks, not face shields, will be made mandatory as of September 9th”, he added.

The use of this personal protective equipment, according to Salas, has not so much to do with protecting oneself but protecting others. This is because asymptomatic people could transmit the virus without realizing it. “If we all protect each other, almost no one is going to get infected. If we begin to violate those protections, there will be many more infections,” he said.

Masks are already mandatory in closed spaces, but the health guideline also recommends the optional use of face shields. Only in the case of waiters, it is strictly mandatory for the use of face shields.

Masks, an indispensable weapon against Coronavirus

The use of masks, according to the most recent scientific evidence, is key to reducing the spread of the Coronavirus. A study published in the scientific journal The Lancet shows that it reduces the chances of infection from 17% to 3%.

Transmission

But, also, a recent discovery about the Coronavirus gave even more importance to masks: “the virus it is transmitted by aerosols”. These are droplets so small that they stay floating in the air for a while, which is why it is also known as airborne transmission.

A study published in May by the United States National Academy of Science found that this type of transmission would be the “dominant” route for the spread of COVID-19 at the time. “Our analysis reveals that the difference with and without mandatory face coverage represents the determining factor in shaping the trends of the Pandemic. This protective measure significantly reduces the number of infections,” says the research.

As explained in July by the experts, face shields would not protect against this type of transmission, since it would allow infectious agents of the Coronavirus to escape through the air. The combination of both, however, is a recommended complement, according to Salas. This is because the mask does protect the eyes, something that masks do not allow.

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