Face Masks, Face Shields and Society



Face shields in a socially distant social society, an experience working through COVID-19.
We have all been witnessing a sudden and abrupt shift in how we socialize in a 2020 society. Work, play, school, and other social settings have taken on sudden new forms as the world continues to deal with COVID-19. Working in the medical industry supporting first responders, and understanding what they actually do is a blessing. We are fortunate to have these individuals working every day to keep us safe. Finally, seeing them on the news, daily, receiving the support and accolades they deserve is wonderful, especially during this ongoing pandemic. Sorry celebrities, it’s the true hero’s time to be honored. Now that we have all learned what “PPE” means, and the importance of protecting ourselves and others, the “who, how, and where” of the use of PPE is evolving as more knowledge is known about this virus and how it is transmitted.

We are seeing an increased emphasis and some mandates that face masks should be worn in public. As divisive as this issue has started to become, these masks are “PPE” that minimize the risk of passing the virus from person to person. I certainly don’t want to pass anything to anyone, but how do I protect myself? How can I protect my family? But also, how can first responders, those working in acute and non-acute healthcare settings, better protect themselves while giving of themselves?


Recently, I was admitted to the ER of my local hospital. After my CT scan came back looking either like Covid-19 or Pneumonia, I was whisked up to the hospital’s newly converted “COVID Floor.” After three specific tests for the coronavirus was told I did not have COVID-19. I was fortunate. However, what I observed was the team on the “COVID Floor” all wore face shields in addition to their face masks.

“Of course, the nurse from the midnight shift was the one I could speak with and shared that the face masks, for those wearing them, minimize the risk of transmitting the virus to others but,the face shields minimize the risk of getting the virus from others.”

More recently, as data collection increases and our knowledge continues to evolve, articles are now being published of the benefits of the use of face shields.


Well, this week, it was time to rejoin society and get out and back to work. I prepared for my trip to St. Louis, and hand sanitizer mounted securely on the side of my backpack. My “have fun work hard” face mask my daughter gave me to ensure safety from me at the airports and on the plane, and Clorox Wipes given to me by my wife in a zip lock bag (positioned for easy access to wipe down everything in sight.) What I encountered during my week of traveling to and from St. Louis was a society that is too social to “social distance.” This begs the question… in order to beat this virus are face masks enough? Two individuals on the flight to St. Louis wore both face shields along with masks. Are masks enough for just those on the Covid Floor of a hospital? Should every healthcare provider/supporter wear a face mask and a face shield in any acute and non-acute care setting? Clearly, those wearing them are concerned about both themselves and all of us. Shouldn’t we all be?
It has been four months since the beginning of this new anti-social social society. Okay, but how do we re-engage with work, with loved ones, friends, and the outside world? Can we get back to a seemingly normal routine “safely?”
…or must we, for the foreseeable future, submit to this new anti-social social society?

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