CDC warns loosely woven cloth masks are 'least protective' against COVID

The CDC says people at high risk of COVID may want to opt for the N95 mask.

Every mask is better than no mask. But loose-fitting masks offer little protection and Americans may sometimes want to choose the highest quality masks like KN95 and N95 respirators, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote Friday in updated online instructions.

“Wearing a protective mask or respirator can be very important in some cases, or with some people who are at risk for a serious illness,” the CDC said.

Modified instructions come within a few weeks of health professionals encouraging Americans to raise their masks in the presence of omicron, warning that fabric masks do not work well enough to prevent the spread of highly contagious.

But with so many people not wanting to wear a mask at all, the CDC’s view is ceasing to call on Americans to choose one mask over another, maintaining that each mask is better than no mask. The CDC also states that high-quality masks can be loose, and if one removes them, they are left unprotected.

“What I can say is that the best mask you can wear is the one you can wear and the one you can keep all day that you can tolerate in public houses and relax where you have to wear it,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC chief, told reporters this week.

N95 and KN95 masks can be expensive and difficult to find, just as the US government has built 737 million N95 stocks to ensure first responders do not run out. President Joe Biden said this week he is planning making the highest quality masks more accessible.

“Next week we will announce how we are making the highest quality masks for Americans for free,” Biden said.

In its initial directive, the CDC urged Americans not to purchase N95 surgical masks to save them from health workers. However, it found that punctuation “lost start” may be optional as long as things exist.

While the latest guideline eliminates the need for people to wear a certain type of mask, it includes more information on why one can choose N95 without surgery or KN95. It is also recommended to wear a loose-fitting mask with a fabric cover on top to make it more comfortable.

“Some masks and respirators offer more protection than others, and some may be more difficult to tolerate or wear more often than others,” the CDC said in a revised guideline. “It is very important to wear a well-fitting or comfortable mask that is comfortable for you and that gives you good protection.”

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