The Case for Face Shields: Improving the COVID-19 Public Health Policy Toolkit

7 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2020 Last revised: 13 Oct 2020

See all articles by Timothy L. Wiemken

Timothy L. Wiemken

Saint Louis University

Ana Santos Rutschman

Saint Louis University - School of Law

Robert Gatter

Saint Louis University - School of Law

Date Written: September 2, 2020

Abstract

As the United States battles the later stages of the first wave of COVID-19 and faces the prospect of future waves, it is time to consider the practical utility of face shields as an alternative or complement to face masks in the policy guidance. Without face shields specifically noted in national guidance, many areas may be reluctant to allow their use as an alternative to cloth face masks, even with sufficient modification.

In this piece, we discuss the benefits of face shields as a substitute to face masks in the context of public health policy. We further discuss the implications and opportunity costs of creating policy guidance with only a small subset of scientific data, much of which is limited. We conclude by arguing that existing federal guidance should be expanded to include face shields as a policy option.

Keywords: face shields, masks, COVID-19, coronavirus, disability, racial discrimination

Suggested Citation

Wiemken, Timothy L. and Santos Rutschman, Ana and Gatter, Robert A., The Case for Face Shields: Improving the COVID-19 Public Health Policy Toolkit (September 2, 2020). Bill of Health (2020), Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2020-26, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3685314 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3685314

Timothy L. Wiemken

Saint Louis University ( email )

3545 Lafayette Ave
#411
Saint Louis, MO 63104
United States

Ana Santos Rutschman (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States

Robert A. Gatter

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States

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