COVID-19 crossing the 22 million
With the global cases of COVID-19 crossing the 22 million mark and the rage of the pandemic unrelenting with 791,568 deaths , it is only pertinent to take prompt action in defense against this deadly virus. With an unceasing effort being put into the development of a potent vaccine against the virus across the world and even more research underway , a heartening study has come to light recently. Published in the 2020 JAMA journal , it has been stated that Face Shields are proving to be an highly successful innovation in impeding the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. While it is mandatory to keep a good quality mask on each time you go out in the open , it is equally advisable to wear a Face Shield for an added layer of protection.
To quote from the JAMA study , the shield has been found helpful in blocking the transmission of the virus among the health workers in India. The study was carried out on 62 healthcare workers based in Chennai , India. They were tasked to counsel the asymptomatic families of the COVID-19 positive patients. Their main role was to inform and educate the families of the COVID-19 positive patients on the importance of maintaining hand hygiene , respiratory hygiene , social distancing and rightful use of face mask and shields. A test was done on all the health workers for COVID-19 , testing negative , before being assigned this work and were asked to stay in separate hotels. They were prohibited to visit their families during this period and were only permitted to go out for work.
They were given alcohol hand rubs, 3-layered surgical masks, gloves, and shoe covers as their PPE to take care of the family members of COVID-19 patients. The 62 workers selected for this study had visited 5880 homes in total between May 4 and May 13, where 222 people had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Prior to giving face shields in their PPE, 12 workers tested positive for COVID-19 between May 3 and May 15. Following this, the remaining 50 workers were given face shields made of polyethene terephthalate (250-μm in thickness) for their scheduled home visits. The health workers started counselling families again on May 20 and visited 18,000 homes between May 20 and June 30. To the surprise of the researchers , none of the health workers tested positive this time, in spite of visiting 2,682 infected residents.
Face shields as an additional layer of safety
Face shields are not a replacement for face masks, but rather should be worn in addition to it for an enhanced protection. To quote the scientists studying the phenomena , “The face shields may have reduced ocular exposure or contamination of masks or hands or may have diverted movement of air around the face.” This is a positive finding in the battle against the SARS-CoV-2 and it is expected that many more important innovations will emerge from this study in the future and help us learn more about this virus and its prevention.
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