Visors verdict? They do not work and actually spread coronavirus. People who wear face visors instead of masks to protect themselves from Covid-19 may be putting themselves at greater risk from the illness with older people particularly the most vulnerable.
Dr. Kim Roberts of Trinity College in Dublin said that visors “do not protect people in any significant way” and are only useful if they are worn in conjunction with and not instead of face masks. She pointed out that many older people have opted to wear face visors in recent months rather than face masks because they are perceived to be more comfortable and easier to manage and because they stop glasses fogging up. Visors simply don’t do the same job as face masks.”
International studies have shown that while high-grade N95 face masks blocked 99 percent of aerosols and surgical masks blocked 59 percent of aerosols, face shields or visors blocked only 2 percent of potentially harmful aerosols.
Legislation in SA is clear: Government Gazette notice 44044:
Mandatory protocols when in a public place
34.(1) For the purpose of these regulations, a “face mask” means a cloth face mask or a homemade item that covers the nose and mouth, or another appropriate item to cover the nose and mouth.
34.(2) The wearing of a face mask is mandatory for every person when in a public place, and any person who fails to comply with a verbal instruction by an enforcement officer to wear a face mask, commits an offence and is, on conviction, liable to a fine or a period of imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both fine and imprisonment.
The CDC does not recommend using face shields or goggles as a substitute for masks. Face shields and goggles are primarily used to protect the eyes of the person wearing it. Goggles do not cover the nose and mouth. Face shields have large gaps below and alongside the face, where your respiratory droplets may escape and reach others around you. At this time, we do not know how much protection a face shield provides to people around you.
For example, people who interact with those who are deaf or hearing impaired may find that a face shield is better than a mask when communicating. If you must wear a face shield instead of a mask:
- Choose a face shield that wraps around the sides of your face and extends below your chin or a hooded face shield. This is based on the limited available data that suggest these types of face shields are better at preventing spray of respiratory droplets.
- Wash your hands after removing the face shield. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing it.
- Clean and disinfect reusable face shields according to the manufacturer’s instructions or by following CDC face shield cleaning instructions. If you use a disposable face shield, wear it once and throw it away according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
When you are on the go, remember to:
- Wear a mask that properly covers your mouth and nose.
- Keep a safe distance of 1.5 meters or more from others.
- Carry a sanitizer and frequently use it.
- Wash your hands frequently with water and soap.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who may be sick or has symptoms.
- If you must have small gatherings do so outdoors or an in a well-ventilated area.
How to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection when you go shopping;
- Plan your shopping needs so that you can reduce the need to go more regularly.
- Practice physical distancing of at least 1.5 meters between yourself and others (e.g. keep the shopping trolley between you and the next person).
- Carry hand sanitizer whenever possible (or make good use of it if provided in stores).
- Always wear a mask and keep your hands away from your face.
- Try not to touch many items.
- Remember to wash your hands when you get home with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
How to minimize the risk of COVID-19 as you go to a restaurant.
Remember to stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms or suspect you might have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19:
- Before eating, wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- Avoid using or sharing items that are reusable, such as menus, condiments, and any other food containers. Instead, use disposable or digital menus and single-serving condiments.
- If you need to make use of the bathroom, push the door open by using your body and avoid using the hand-dryer. Rather wipe your hands with a paper towel or toilet paper.
- Maintain a distance of a minimum of 1.5 meters from other people unless they are people from the same household.
- Use touchless payment options as much as possible, if available.
- While eating, your mask will be off. Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
- Sit outside if you can, open spaces with moving air significantly decrease your risk of contracting the virus via airborne droplets.
How to minimize the risk of COVID-19 at social gatherings.
- Wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you arrive.
- Maintain a social distance of more than 1.5m at all times.
- Gather outdoors or in well-ventilated areas.
- Wear your face mask at all times, except when eating.
- Avoid kissing, hugging, and touching each other.
- Limiting the number of individuals to less than 10 people.
- Avoid putting out toys that the kids will have to touch and share. (e.g. TV game)
- Avoid serving buffet-style where people will be required to serve using the same utensils.
- Have disposable cups and write each person’s name on them to avoid sharing cups or accidentally drinking from someone else’s cup.
- If someone in your household is high-risk (over the age of 65, lung disease, asthma, diabetes, heart or kidney disease) avoid hosting a family gathering at your home.
Layer on the protection – Double masking
A single-layer mask is not effective in blocking aerosols, homemade two- and three-ply fabric masks are only partially protective somewhere in the 50% to 60% range of effectiveness.
Surgical masks, also called medical-grade masks, are made of three layers of nonwoven fabric typically made from plastic. The colored top layer of fabric is made of medical-grade spun-bond polypropylene, which is a resin polymer heat-bonded into a weblike structure.
Surgical masks were about 50% effective at protecting the wearer from other people’s aerosols and between 60% and 70% effective at protecting others.
But put a surgical mask under a cloth mask and you get “over 91% removal efficiency for particles,” said Joseph Allen, an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the director of the school’s Healthy Buildings.
For maximal protection wear a cloth mask tightly on top of a surgical mask where the surgical mask acts as a filter and the cloth mask provides an additional layer of filtration while improving the fit.
See the links below for more information:
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