DOH official defends use of face shields

Published June 22, 2021, 3:44 PM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

An official of the Department of Health (DOH) has defended the continued use of face shields, saying that it provides added protection against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).


Dr. Alethea De Guzman of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau said the combined use of face shields and face masks and observance of physical distancing provides 99 percent protection from getting infected.

“Kung face mask lamang or face shield lamang ang gagamitin natin posibleng ang proteksyon na ibinibigay nila sa atin ay from 78 to 85 percent lamang (If we only use face masks or face shields, it is possible that the protection they give us is only from 78 to 85 percent),” De Guzman said in a Palace briefing Tuesday, June 22.

“But our local study showed that if we combine face mask, face shield and even physical distancing, they offer a 99 percent protection against getting or even transmitting the virus to other people,” she added.

Hours after the announcement that face shields would no longer be required, President Duterte declared that the wearing of face shields, both indoors and outdoors, is mandatory again.

Duterte issued the order after the Health department reported 40 additional cases of COVID-19 variants detected in the country, including four new cases of more transmissible Delta variant.

Adds burden, not protection

However, a militant group opposed the move saying that the mandatory use of face shields only adds burden instead of protection to low-income Filipinos.

“Not only it lacks scientific basis for general public use and poses an environmental disaster, face shields also burden the low-income working families who barely make ends meet,” Anakpawis Party-list said in a statement.

The group demanded that the President recall the mandatory use of face shields indoors and outdoors “as it adds burden to the struggling sectors, especially the workers and urban poor.”

Although priced at about P10 to P20 a piece, Anakpawis said that face shield is still “taking its toll” on the income of minimum wage earners and informal workers.

Based on their computation, the group said an individual has to spend around P80 to P180 a month for disposable face shields as the said personal protective equipment is ideally replaced twice a week or eight times a month.