“Concealment is an important public health tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and it is important to remember that any mask is better than no mask,” the CDC said in a statement.
Updated guidelines recommend that Americans wear a mask or respirator that they can find a good fit, and that they wear it frequently.
“Some masks and respirators offer higher levels of protection than others, and some may be more difficult to tolerate or wear consistently than others,” the new guidelines say. “It is very important to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator that is comfortable for you and provides good protection.”
The information was last updated in October. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walinsky said Wednesday that the agency was planning to update information to reflect people’s choices and the levels of protection different masks provide.
Loose woven fabric products offer the least amount of protection, finely layered products provide more protection, well-disposable KN95 surgical masks provide more protection, and well-approved respirators (National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety) ) (including N95s) offer the highest level of protection,” says the CDC.
Updated guidelines state that “a highly protective mask or respirator may be more important in certain high-risk situations, or by certain people at increased risk of severe disease.” This includes:
- When you take care of someone with COVID-19
- When you are on an airplane or public transportation, especially for a long time
- When you work at a job where you come into contact with many people, especially when no one else is persuasive
- When You’re Not Informed About Covid-19 Vaccines
- If you have a risk factor for developing a serious illness such as a weakened immune system or a medical condition
- When you are in a crowded public place, whether indoors or outdoors
Masks are still not recommended for children under age 2, but the CDC “recommends universal indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of their vaccination status or district transmission rates.”
The updated guidelines offer tips for better fitness and more protection, such as:
- Wear two masks (a cloth mask over a disposable mask).
- Combine a disposable cloth or math with a fitter or bracket.
- Knot and tuck the earloops of fabric masks where they meet the edge of the mask.
- Fold the extra material and fold over the disposable masks under the edges.
- Use masks that attach behind the head and neck with straps or elastic bands (instead of ear loops).
The CDC says consumers looking for masks that meet quality standards can search for specific labels such as “meets ASTM F3502” or “meets workplace performance,” and can go to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health website for more information. Information about personal protective equipment
The agency also says that some ventilators do not meet international standards and has links to websites for more details.
“N95s” that are specially labeled as “surgical” should be reserved for health care personnel use,” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“These updates to our web page reflect the science related to masking, including what we have learned in the past two years,” the agency said in its statement. “We will continue to share the science of masking when it becomes available.”