House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday renewed his call to scrap the face shield mandate for the general public, saying that the protection against the airborne transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is already sufficiently addressed by the proper use of face masks.
Velasco said there is still no solid medical and scientific proof that face shields are effective deterrents to the spread of Covid-19.
“There are, however, several published medical studies noting the doubtful efficacy of face shields in preventing aerosols from spreading, which is primarily how coronavirus infects us,” he said.
Citing studies conducted by physician-researchers of Wayne State University School of Medicine, he said that combining the use of face shields and masks made little difference over the use of masks alone.
He also cited an article by researchers from the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) showing that the use of face shields may help doctors and health care workers against splashes and sprays of blood or other bodily secretions, but does not give additional protection against respiratory aerosol such as those present in Covid-19 transmission.
Velasco issued the statement after some local government units have announced they were scrapping the mandatory wearing of face shields in their areas.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte has recently signed an executive order (EO) which specified that wearing face shields would be voluntary in crowded places, close contact settings, and confined and enclosed spaces.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno likewise issued an EO stating that the use of face shields would be “non-mandatory” in the city except for medical and hospital facilities.
Other Metro Manila mayors have also announced that they were in favor of scrapping the use of face shields, except in hospitals and possibly even public utility vehicles, now that many residents in their areas have been vaccinated.
Velasco renewed his call for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and the Department of Health to scrap their directives on the mandatory use of plastic face shields for the general public.
Velasco cited the economic burden being placed on Filipinos in enforcing the mandatory use of face shields, noting that the cost of a face shield of about PHP20 to PHP50 is already a substantial amount equivalent to the cost of a meal for our indigent population.
On Tuesday, Malacañang urged all local government units (LGUs) to respect President Rodrigo Duterte’s current policy on the wearing of face shields in the country.