When it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19, face masks have proven very effective. In multiple studies, cloth face masks have been shown to prevent people from getting sick. 

You might think that if a cloth face covering can prevent the spread of germs from the novel coronavirus that a plastic face shield might be just as effective or possibly even more effective. After all, how could germs, even teeny tiny ones, get through plastic?

The problem with face shields is that they are not snug fitting to the face while a cloth face mask is, at least it should be if it fits properly.

A recent study in Japan found that a face shield worn by itself without a cloth face mask underneath does not protect the wearer from spreading COVID-19. In fact, you might as well not wear the face shield at all. 

According to The Guardian, “A simulation using Fugaku, the world’s fastest supercomputer, found that almost 100% of airborne droplets of less than 5 micrometres in size escaped through plastic visors of the kind often used by people working in service industries.”

Makoto Tsubokura, the team leader at Riken’s centre for computational science, said, “Judging from the results of the simulation, unfortunately the effectiveness of face guards in preventing droplets from spreading from an infected person’s mouth is limited compared with masks.”

Tsubokura added that anyone who has been advised not to wear a face mask, such as very young children or people with certain health conditions, could choose to wear a face shield instead of a mask but only outside or indoor locations with proper ventilation.

If you would like to wear a face shield, it can be worn in addition to a face mask, but if you were hoping to use it as an alternative, possibly, for example, a teacher who might want her students to actually see her face, the face shield alone is not a good idea.

For more details about  why face shields are not nearly as effective as preventing the spread of COVID-19 as cloth face masks, watch the video below.

If you want to test out the effectiveness of your face mask, you can easily do so using the candle test. Want to buy some cute face masks for Halloween? These are perfect.

Do you usually wear a face mask, a face shield or both? Do the results of this study in Japan surprise you?