“Face shields to protect your eyes, your nose and your mouth,” said Dr. Michael Edmond, professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa, who has recently published an article to promote shields in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“What are the three areas in which the virus can enter the body. ”
Edmond said while the masks are intended to protect the other, a face mask, protects the wearer.
“The masks are really recommended to control the virus at the source, not to protect you,” he said.
Coming soon to retail
Aurora, Ont.-auto-parts maker Axiom, which has obtained in the personal protective equipment (PPE) business in the beginning of the pandemic, is in the process of finalizing a contract with a major national retail chain.
“We have just had confirmation that we will find in their online store that the Axiom face shield,” said Max Preston, general manager of the company the division that makes the shields.
“If it sells well online then they are going to bring it up in the store. “
And then there are the Canadian Shield, in Waterloo, Ont., start-up of millions of face masks for health care providers and workers in essential services. It has just launched the sale to the general public.
“The demand is very strong,” said founder Jeremy Hedges, who said that orders for 1 000 shields paid as soon as the product was available to consumers.
“I think especially when it is hot outside, wearing a face shield is a great way for people to socialize. ”
But what about the vanity factor? In contrast to masks, which are available in colorful, playful and even dressed in styles, most of the face shields on the market looks more like what riot police wear a image view in many disturbing news reports lately.
Bulky and uncomfortable vs mode
“They are bulky, they are uncomfortable, they are awkward,” said Joe Doucet, New York city-based, multi-disciplinary designer who works in consumer electronics, graphic design, architecture and fashion.
“It is completely foreign to put one on the. You feel like you are living in a bad dystopian future. ”
But after Doucet read several articles on how effective the devices are in the prevention of the COVID-19 contagion, he concluded, people should be encouraged to wear a visor.
“I thought if I can make it sleek and cool, people would want to wear it,” he said.
It has based its new design on the look of the sunglasses and posted pictures to Instagram. “The response has been overwhelming,” he said. “I woke up a thousand emails every day. ”
His company has established a partnership with the manufacturers in Italy and Germany for the shields, and Doucet says they will take orders in a period of a few weeks.
“We’re licensing the design of various sports brands, versions, and so on until you reach the level of production to achieve the level of demand,” he said.
Made in Canada
Hedges of the Canadian Shield, says that Canada is in shortage of PPE at the beginning of the pandemic, has had a positive result and that there are now a lot of domestic suppliers.
“We have learned the hard way that the global supply chain is not going to make Canada a priority,” he said.
Blankets is expected that many Canadian manufacturers will move production back to the house in the wake of the pandemic.
“We have an opportunity to re-imagine how our economy works, and everything that is essential, go to do here,” he said.
The 27-year-old entrepreneur who had already founded an educational technology company called InkSmith — secured a contract with the federal government in April to make 10 million masks for health care workers and other workers of essential services. Once he was confident that the Canadian Shield may give effect to this commitment, it has opened sales to retail customers.
It has been hiring as fast as he can, growing his team from just 10 employees to 270.
WATCH | Jeremy Hedges on a swivel to take face shields:
“We have no intention of what is a profession,” said Hedges, whose company sells 3D printers, laser cutters, robotic kits and other technologies for use in the classroom.
With this kind of equipment already available, the company has been able to move quickly to deal with shields at the beginning of the COVID crisis, when it became public that the PPE was in short supply.
“In half an hour, we began to make shields,” said Hedges.
Shields in shops, classrooms
The promoters of the shields say that even if the devices do not become as commonly used in the public, such as masks, shields will become the norm in some contexts, such as retail environments.
The Liquor control board of Ontario, for example, has made shields “mandatory” for employees in all of its stores, according to an email statement provided to CBC News.
Joe Doucet said that, a shield that enables interactions better than a mask. “If you are a sales person and you’re trying to get people to come into your store, it’s going to be easier if you can communicate, and that someone will be able to see you and hear you correctly. ”
The classrooms are another natural choice, according to Maureen Taylor, a physician assistant, Michael Garron, Toronto Hospital, who said that the schools will soon have to consider shields.
“The kids can’t be trusted with masks,” she said. “They’re going to take it from them; they are going to fool around with them. But if we can give them a face shield that has the Paw Patrol or Superwoman on it, and then I was able to see children wear a face shield in the class room. ”
It stresses that the fact of seeing a person’s facial expression plays a key role in the communication, which is especially important in education.
Dr. Michael Edmond and his colleagues would like to see “everyone” wear a face shield.
“We expect that if we could achieve high levels of compliance with face shields, we would have a major impact on the reduction of transmission,” he says. “But this is a new concept for the people. It may take us a bit of time. “