Face shields don't fully protect from "sneeze vortex rings," analysis finds

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/12/10/face-shields-dont-fully-protect-from-sneeze-vortex-rings-analysis-finds.html

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The point of “civilian” masks is to protect others, so the more important question is if a person wearing a face shield sneezes, what is their dispersal pattern.



better than nothing. face shields are a good option for people who already have too much stuff hanging off theirs ears. My Mom wears glasses and oxygen tubes when she goes out and the normal masks just don’t stay in place with all of that. (she’s a retired nurse and not stupid)


Face shield alone is an illusion.


Now do one with the plague doctor mask

Well, and face shields have zero effectiveness against aerosols. And now that aerosols are considered to be a primary vector of covid 19 infection, it’s important that face shields not be allowed as a substitute for filtering face piece masks. They are an adjunct to filtering face masks not a replacement.


Q: what sort of sneeze travels purely horizontally?

A: a purely mathematically modeled one.

Yes, and that’s why, when Victoria, Australia went into lockdown 2.0, face shields alone were no longer permitted in public.

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And these ones…

A face mask would probably stop you generating a Covid smoke ring by accident.

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Get a mask with ties behind the head. Maybe one of the many devices that connect ear loops behind the head instead of the ears. Even a headband or hat with buttons above the ears for the ear loops to hang on. All ways to not use the ears, for whatever reason, and still have a mask.

The face shield alone isn’t helping at all. Our local mask regulations specifically don’t count it when used alone.

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Maybe I didn’t make it clear that my Mom isn’t stupid?

That’s fine. And the comment doesn’t say what else she may be doing, which could be all kinds of things.

That statement, without anything else to add to it seems to imply that face shields alone are better than nothing. As this article points out, that’s incorrect.

In general, face shields prevent against larger objects. Without a mask, they create their own airflow circulation. Especially as warm air breathed out builds up and creates an air flow escaping at the top. Which means, when used alone with nothing else, a face shield alone could actually suck up air. It’ll protect against flung spittle but not airborne floating particles.

All those things are stuff that my family has used specifically to avoid attaching things to the ears. An option that’s better than a face shield alone.


Tautology won’t get you anywhere with me. I’m not interested in playing the game where we debate if no mask is better than a mask. That game won’t inform anyone here, and it won’t make either of us happy.

We should be wearing this

You’ve totally lost me.

You accused me of calling your mom stupid. I replied trying to clear up that I was not. I don’t have enough knowledge, and wouldn’t do that anyway. It seemed polite to clear up a misunderstanding.

I tried to clear up that my comment was that a face shield is not better than nothing. It’s deceiving and not providing benefit. The original reason for my comment, which I assumed was not clear.

And it seems you’re accusing me of comparing no mask to mask wearing. No idea where that comes from.

As for informing others, nobody should come away from this thinking a face shield is an equivalent substitute for a mask. That was the only point.

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