COVID-19 Index
By Richard Bruce BA, MA, and PhC in Economics

Homemade Anti-COVID-19 Face Shield

Doctors, nurses, and other health professionals use face shields when treating COVID-19. So they are probably effective. They should be somewhat effective in stopping droplets containing the virus from getting into your eyes, nose, and mouth.

They are available on line for ten dollars and even less. The expensive ones are about 40 bucks. But clearly they do not have enough for everyone, though with a little time the factories could make them.

In this emergency we may need a temporary short term supply of face shields so most people can use them when shopping, working inside with others, walking down a crowded street, using public transportation and other high risk activities. So I have tried to invent a homemade solution. This is my third, and most successful attempt.

I simply took a large zip lock food bag. Cut off the zip lock, and cut along the two side folds, leaving the bottom fold intact.

Then I attached the resulting rectangle of clear plastic to the brim of a hat with what are called bulldog or binder clips.

This is the result.

I discovered by looking at this picture that you can see through the plastic better than I thought. When I looked in the mirror I could hardly see myself. This is because the plastic distorted my face twice, once when the light reflected off my face passed through the plastic to the mirror and once when the light came back from the mirror through the plastic a second time.

To better judge what other are seeing cover your face below your eyes with the plastic and then look in the mirror. Observe how much of the lower half of your face that you can see. That way you are seeing what come through with one pass through the plastic.

The advantages of a face shield are that they are comfortable, people can see your face and read your expressions, easy to clean, and they protect against large droplets that may contain virus particles and come out when people sneeze, cough, or talk. It seems to me that they are less likely to be effective against a virus in an aerosol. But, this article in STAT argues that COVID-19 is unlikely to be spread through an aerosol.

Here is another version of the idea. In this one I combine cheap one dollar safety glasses, many people have a pair around the house, and my plastic bag. I connected it in the back using the same binder or bulldog clips as above and a couple of rubber bands. To prevent the binder clips from slipping off the plastic I used a piece of masking tape on the upper back corners of the plastic. This gives the binder clips something to grip. A little duct tape might work even better.

If you happen to have safety glasses, many people do, and do not have a hat with a brim you might prefer this. Perhaps you think this looks somewhat less silly. We need to create options so there will be more and quicker adoptions.

Medical professionals typically use professional face-shields with a quality mask, but those medical professionals are typically dealing with a patient that is far more likely to have COVID-19 than the average person you deal with in a store and is likely to be highly contagous. I use mine when shopping but not when I am alone in the house, or simply walking the empty streets of my residential neighborhood.

Will my crude homemade face mask do any good? I am not a medical professional, nor do I have any expertize of any kind that is relevant. I simply offer this as an idea, and I will leave it to the experts to evaluate the proposal if they choose too. Otherwise people might get a laugh out of my silly homemade project.

By the way is there any expert opinion on whether it would help stem the COVID-19 epidemic if everyone was wearing a face-shield?

As mentioned above there are ten dollar face shields offered on line. Amazon delivered mine. Here it is. I think this hat with mask was originally used for gardening, I have never seen medical people use this.

This might be a model for what will eventually become common busiess attire. Business needs to immediately change things to make them more safe for their employees, customers, clients, etc. In the short term the more ridiculous the better, it shows you care. Do not tell me you are doing everything you can, or that you care. Show me with silly homemade barriers to infection, that you put safety first.

But over time these should be replaced by even safer equipment, clothing etc. that looks more professional. Perhaps something like the above picture with your logo on it.

Trump's background is business and he has been very concerned with the shutdown. I am sure other businessmen are also concerned. Yet when I see the few stores that are open, I see that the employees are usually not wearing masks, the banks do not provide sanitary wipes to clean the ATMs after each use, the businesses have not put in stationary sneeze guards to protect employees and customers. In fact you can not see any difference. If we are going to open up we need to do lots to make it safe. The failure of business to simple things to slow the spread of COVID-19 is keeping business shut down.


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