Huntsville Hospital infectious disease specialist: Fight coronavirus with masks, not shields

Dr. Ali Hassoun said full face coverings would be great in an ideal world, but focusing on masking and distance is most practical and important right now.

Posted: Jul 31, 2020 8:38 PM

Huntsville Hospital’s infectious disease specialist Dr. Ali Hassoun, said Friday you don’t need a full-face shield to stay safe from the coronavirus.

Earlier this week, the country’s top expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, suggested shields or goggles would protect your eyes from dangerous germs. Fauci also noted that shields and goggles are not universally recommended.

“In the ideal world, we would have said possibly adding all that would be great,” Hassoun said. “But if we want to be more on the practical side and we want to emphasize what is the most important, I would really go for physical distancing and masking.”

The infectious disease specialist said face shields and eye coverings won’t do much without the current distancing and masking guidelines.

“You’re gonna need the face mask, which is much more important than the face shield,” he said, adding that he believes people will be wearing masks for at least the next six months.

Face shields are used at Huntsville Hospital, but Hassoun said only when people are in close contact with positive or suspected cases.

If you still want to take the extra precaution, Hassoun said any barrier from droplets - like glasses or goggles - should protect the eyes’ mucous membrane.

Around Huntsville, face shields are readily available at numerous medical supply stores. Several locations report that though they stock the items, they aren’t very popular and most people are just sticking with masks.”

Thomas Tipton said he would consider taking the extra precautions, with full face coverings, under the right circumstances.

“Yeah, anything that helps,” Tipton said. “I already have a face shield for the work I do, so it’s not like I have to buy one. I've worn one, just not for a pandemic.”

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