Sotto proposes conducting a Senate inquiry into efficacy of face shields
June 29, 2021 06:46 PM
Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III filed a measure seeking an investigation on the actual efficacy of using face shields to prevent the transmission of the COVID virus.
"... Conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the efficacy of wearing a face shield to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, based on scientific studies done by health experts."
Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, during the Committee of the Whole hearing last June 15, asked the Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III about the IATF’s basis for requiring the use of face shields along with face masks when going out in public.
The Senate chief instructed the agency to prepare a list of countries that impose the same measure.
The resolution directed the Senate to "conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the efficacy of wearing a face shield to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, based on scientific studies done by health experts."
According to a DOH submission to the Senate from June 12, they cited studies from India and The Lancet, showing the efficacy of preventing the transmission of COVID, however, no data proved to be conclusive.
The agency also presented a list of countries that use face shields, including China, South Korea, Malta, the United Kingdom, and the state of Oregon in the United States. These places, however, do not mandate the use of face shields.
"Face shields are only an alternative"
The measure also stated that according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “face shields are not as effective at protecting you or the people around you from respiratory droplets. Face shields are only an alternative for people who are not advisable to wear masks”.
The American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), furthermore, revealed in their study that surgical masks alone “provide good protection, surpassing the protection provided by face shields alone.”
“…Mask and/or shield together showed no significant improvement compared to masks alone," the study concluded.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also does not acknowledge the use of face shields as a basic health protocol, only advising the public to use masks, practice physical distancing, keeping rooms well-ventilated, avoiding crowded areas, frequent hand-washing, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue.
Sotto added that the requirement of face shields is “very costly for something that does not afford protection against the virus,” especially for the poor and marginalized.
In his conclusion, Sotto directed the Senate Committee of the Whole to conduct an inquiry “on the efficacy of wearing face shields to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.”