Why We Need to Upgrade Our Face Masks—and Where to Get Them

A while back, I found a medical supply store that would sell 3M “designed-for-medical/surgical-use” N95 masks by the crate (440 masks) at roughly $1/each.  This is still a very good deal however it surprises me that more people haven’t adopted N95 masks when it’s been made excruciatingly clear that:

  1. Wearing a paper surgical mask and/or a cloth mask is VERY EFFECTIVE at protecting others from contracting COVID-19 from you;
    It is LIMITED in protecting the wearer from contracting COVID-19 from others.
  2. Wearing an N95 mask is VERY EFFECTIVE at protecting others from contracting COVID-19 from you; 
    It is VERY EFFECTIVE at protecting the wearer from contracting COVID-19 from others.

This article from Scientific American lays out why people should be getting N95 masks, as well as detailing the differences between:

  • N95
  • FFP2
  • KN95
  • KF94

I’ve also written about 3M’s documentation on the different mask offerings they have, and the differences between each here:

Read the article from Scientific American which I find very compelling:

A wealth of evidence has shown that wearing a face mask helps prevent people from spreading the virus that causes COVID, SARS-CoV-2, to others and from becoming sick themselves. But there has been less guidance from public health officials on what kind of masks provide the best protection.

Early on in the pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization told the public not to wear N95 respirators, a type of mask that is made from high-tech synthetic fibers and provides a high level of protection against virus-laden airborne particles called aerosols. That was because there was then a shortage of such masks—and health care workers desperately needed them. At the same time, both agencies said there was little risk of aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2. They recommended cloth masks or other homemade face coverings that can stop some relatively large virus-carrying droplets even as it became clear that SARS-CoV-2 commonly spreads through aerosols—and as the supply of better-quality masks increased.

There is now a cornucopia of high-filtration respirator-style masks on the market, including N95s, Chinese-made KN95s and South Korean–made KF94s. They have been widely available and relatively affordable for months and provide better protection than cloth or surgical masks. Yet it was not until September 10 that the CDC finally updated its guidance to say the general public could wear N95s and other medical-grade masks now that they are in sufficient supply.

Full article here:

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