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A Review of Available Literature on the Use of Face Mask vs Face Shield during the Pandemic

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Duque, M., 2020. A Review of Available Literature on the Use of Face Mask vs Face Shield during the Pandemic. United International Journal for Research & Technology (UIJRT), 2(1), pp.27-34.


The public and healthcare personnel faced a dilemma when the COVID-19 infection became global. There are conflicting articles, guidance and policies on which type of face covering, either face mask, face shield, or both can be effectively used in a global health crisis such as this pandemic. The general public and the non-healthcare policy makers were the ones most affected by this confusion. The COVID-19 Pandemic has triggered the extensive use of face coverings both for healthcare personnel and the general public.  Previous studies were conflicting and have no definitive and conclusive findings on which is more efficient in minimizing the risk of respiratory infection during a pandemic. This study aims to extensively determine which face covering can provide more effective in diminishing the possibility of becoming infected with the virus. Building on previous research and available literature materials on face coverings, it hopes to provide an answer to which specific face covering is more able to protect and minimize the risk of the wearer from getting infected. In this context, the face covering would be either a face mask or face shield, both of which are readily available. The study critically analysed the available information based on an extensive review of the literature ranging from the 1918 Pandemic to the present. Analysis of the reviewed material demonstrated a significant lack of single conclusive result which was associated with various influencing factors. The results indicate that neither the face mask nor the face shield are effective in minimizing the risk of infection on its own, but one is more likely better than the other and that using a combination is best. The best type of face covering to use also depends on various factors and it would be beneficial to conduct further research to identify other factors and arrive at a more conclusive finding.

Keywords: COVID-19, Coronavirus, pandemic, face mask, face shield.


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