Don’t use face shield without nose masks

The use of face shield is gradually gaining root in the country as some use it as facial protection to prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

It has now become more fashionable for people to use the face shield, especially women who think that because the shield is a transparent plastic cover, their makeup could still be visible.

While some say they feel more comfortable in the face shield compared with the nose mask, others claim they cannot wear the nose mask because of underlying medical conditions hence the use of the face shield only or none at all. 

However, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and the Ghana Chapter of the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) have expressed concern over the use of face shield without masks as protection from COVID-19 and have described the practice as “very dangerous.”

In a press statement jointly signed by Prof. Peter Donkor, 1st Vice-President and Country Representative of WACS and Dr Frank Ankobea, President of GMA, the two bodies have warned the public to desist from that practise with immediate effect as it would rather lead to increased cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Although the face shield covers the face, it does not wrap around the face nor extend below the chin but there is space at the sides, the top and the bottom. The shield is not close to the face; therefore, it makes the wearer vulnerable to contracting the virus as it is spread through droplets. 

Instead of using the face shield, members of the GMA and WACS have advised the public to rather use nose masks at all times since according to scientific evidence, the use of face shield alone (without a nose mask) does not protect the user from COVID-19 as there is potential airborne spread of the virus.

The statement again urged the public to disregard “unsubstantiated reports on some social media platforms about a decrease in blood oxygen concentration as well as a buildup of carbon dioxide when one uses a mask” because as doctors, they wear face masks all the time during work but have not observed any such thing. 

The Spectator commends the GMA and WACS for their timely education on this practice as the public is ignorant of the dangers associated with using face shield without a mask and pleads with the public to adhere strictly to this directive by wearing the nose masks at all times.

Although the wearing of nose masks is now mandatory in Ghana some people still refuse to   comply with the directive given by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and their actions endanger the lives of others.

We fervently appeal to the authorities to ensure that this directive is strictly adhered to, to ensure public health, safety and protection.  

Organisations, companies, institutions and shop owners among others should also enforce the “No mask-No entry” policy to help curb the spread of the virus which is increasing at an alarming rate. Currently, confirmed cases are 25,430 with 21, 511 recoveries/discharges and 139 deaths.

As an individual, there is the need to cooperate and once you step out of your home ensure that you wear a nose mask, even if you use a face shield.

Also, ensure that you wash your reusable nose mask regularly and iron it and clean or disinfect face shield after use. If you use a disposable nose mask wrap it well with tissue after use and dispose of it appropriately in a bin.

Remember, COVID-19 is no respecter of person so besides the wearing of face mask and shield, observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly with soap under running water, use sanitiser, and avoid shaking hands.

So, use both the face shield and nose mask as protection from COVID-19.

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