This is what protects best against COVID-19 - NBC Chicago - Market News
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This is what protects best against COVID-19 – NBC Chicago

This is what protects best against COVID-19 - NBC Chicago

As the omicron variant spreads rapidly across the US, health officials claim they are getting a booster shot and the COVID-19 vaccine is key to stopping the spread of the virus, but wearing a face mask is also getting strong recommended.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control updated its masking guidelines, saying that N95 and KN95 masks provide the best protection against COVID-19 and that people “can choose” to wear them.

Previously, the CDC advised the general population not to wear N95 masks or KN95s, a similar type of mask made in China, for fear that demand would affect healthcare supply.

In Friday’s update, the CDC said deficits were no longer a concern.

Some public health experts say guidance is far too late and not going far enough.

How do you know if a KN95 mask is? legitimate? Here’s how the CDC says you can tell the difference.

“We really need to take it a step further and say this is the standard we should be aiming for,” Dr. Ranu Dhillon, a global health physician at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told NBC News.

“CDC should have come out on this two years ago,” he added. “The science was clear two years ago.”

During his speech last week, Dr. Allison Arwady, the Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner, said that “everyone who wears a mask is the most important thing.”

“The biggest leap in protection is from no mask to a mask,” she said during a question-and-answer session.

Arwady said at the time that KN95 masks are “good to use” if they are available, she said, but she pointed out the importance of common mask use.

“As long as it feels comfortable for you to have one on, wear one,” she said. “It has a higher level of protection.”

KN95 masks, like N95s, filter at least 95% of airborne particles, but N95 masks have stricter pressure loss requirements and are regularly considered the “gold standard” for masking.

N95s are specifically reserved for health professionals and were originally recommended only in such environments.

According to a Nebraska Medicine article, mask materials with a high filtering efficiency theoretically work best at combating the ommicron wave, but fit is especially important.

dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says she does not believe the US has reached the peak of the ommicron coronavirus wave hitting the country.

Several studies have shown that a multi-layer cloth mask can have an effective filtration efficiency as high as KN95s or other high-filtration masks, according to the article.

The CDC said in its updated guidance that it “continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask you can wear that fits well and that you will wear consistently.”

A mask should fit close to the face with no gaps, and be comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time when needed, it said.

However, the agency ranked commonly used face coverings in order from highest to lowest protection, with N95s approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health and KN95s at the top.

Disposable surgical masks were next on the list, but the CDC advised making sure they fit properly. Loosely woven fabric products offer the least protection, according to agency officials.