Updated: June 03, 2020
TAG does not recommend the use of face shields as a replacement for face masks. We will discuss this further later this week. Please read Recommendations in Industry for more thoughts.
CDC has affirmed the definition for a close contact as “any individuals within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated”.
The CDC and US Department of Labor has provided new interim guidance for Agriculture Workers and Employers.
the Food Industry
Face Shields Do Not Provide the Same Protection as Face Masks.
With the weather warming up, TAG has been receiving questions on the use of face shields instead of face masks/covers. Face shields are sometimes used in healthcare settings, along with masks, to help protect the eyes from droplet spread. While goggles may also be used for this, some people find face shields to be more comfortable. However, neither should be used as a replacement for masks.
Face shields ≠Face masks. The purpose of a face mask/covering is to keep the wearer’s droplets (be they asymptomatic or not) from spreading to others. Because it fits close to the face, the mask/cover restricts respiratory droplets that may be emitted.
A face shield does not provide that same protection because it does not adequately surround the nose and mouth areas. With a face shield, when a person breathes out, air particles may still be expelled outside of the shield.
If employees are finding face masks to be too uncomfortable in warm weather, it may be preferable to try to find a more lightweight face mask/face covering.
Face shields may be used in addition to masks where warranted or needed for eye protection; however, any face shield used for any reason should also meet the same standards as safety glasses. It is essential that they are properly and regularly cleaned and disinfected.
In relation to the effects of physical distance, face masks, and eye protection on virus transmission in both healthcare and community settings, recent research supports the use of these protection measures against the coronavirus:
Transmission of viruses was lower with physical distancing of 1m (3 feet) or more, compared with a distance of less than 1 m. Protection increased as distance was lengthened.
Face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar.
Eye protection also was associated with less infection.
As of June 03, 2020 (09:41 ET), there are over 6,411,000 cases (>380,000 deaths) worldwide.
Due to the increasing number of cases in the United States, TAG will move from reporting counts per country to focus on the United States, please see here for the data. For further information regarding worldwide numbers, please refer to John Hopkin University’s aggregate map.
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