Health experts have emphasized the significance of wearing face masks for the prevention of coronavirus since the beginning of the ongoing pandemic. Many studies have established that face coverings can lower coronavirus spread from one person to another to a big extent.
Therefore, they are a fundamental part of the instructions for avoiding coronavirus transmission given by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. This is also why masks are a requirement in almost all indoor public places now.
In addition, some countries including Italy are also planning to make face coverings compulsory in outdoor spaces to further bring down transmission rates of the virus.
However, one of the major concerns of people when it comes to wearing a mask for coronavirus is choosing between the different types available. Many assume that only the medical-grade N95 masks can protect from the coronavirus.
While it is true that N95 masks do provide maximum protection from coronavirus and other pathogens, other types can also safeguard from the virus, which is why experts recommend wearing any face covering for the general public.
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As there has been a shortage of N95 masks in the market since the starting of the year, it is better to leave the limited amount of them available to people who need it the most.
For example, people who are at the highest risk of catching the virus including front-line health care workers are required to wear N95 masks as they are exposed to infected patients on a daily basis.
In comparison, others do not need this form of protection as they are at a lower risk of being exposed to the virus, which is why the CDC recommends fabric masks for daily use.
Lately, another alternative of N95 masks which is becoming more popular than fabric masks is KN95. A number of health experts suggest the use of KN95 especially to those people with a job that includes interaction with multiple people.
In accordance with the results of a few reports, KN95 can actually provide the same level of protection as N95 masks. However, a new report from ECRI shows that KN95 may not actually be as effective.
More precisely, the study found that as many as seventy percent of the KN95 masks, which are imported from China, can only provide a certain level of protection and most do not meet the standards of protection of other countries.
This also includes the United States where masks and their effectiveness is tested and approved under guidelines from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Since the masks are not safe, there is a rising concern over those who are at high risk of exposure and use it.
During the past few weeks, the US has imported KN95 masks due to the shortage of N95 masks for health care works and reports on the former’s effectiveness.
The new findings on these masks show that health care workers including nurses and doctors may be at the highest risk, which is why they should stick to normal N95 masks or choose the KN95 that meets FDA’s standards for masks.
For other people, wearing KN95 is not an issue as they usually do not require the same level of protection.