Updated: May 12, 2020
Not all masks are created equal.
One needs to pay attention to the behavior of a virus. As everyone does a mad-dash for surgical N95 masks supplies is scarce at best. One needs to be careful because the fad to produce your own mask is not really the best option.
But some any mask is better than nothing right?
Yes and no.
Masks that are constructed from just normal fabric will prevent larger droplets from leaving your mouth when you exhale. However they will do nothing against contracting COVID-19. Not even surgical masks will prevent one from getting the coronavirus. One must have a mask that is designed to filter out particles in the air.
That’s when N95 masks come in.
N95 Masks are designed to remove the particles in the air by 95%. N = efficiency and 95 is the efficiency percentage. So an N95 has a base efficiency of filtering out 95% of airborne particles. The CDC website shows which N95 masks are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). They have also expanded their authorization for KN95s listing any masks that may carry the same quality as N95s.
KN95s are made in China for the Chinese consumer and NIOSH is not a Chinese certification, so KN95s will not be found on the CDC website and carry no NIOSH approval. However, it could still be exactly same mask as its N95 cousin mask. China carries similar quality standards for certain products.
Fortunately, the FDA has provided a list of authorized KN95s for American use.
Make sure you do your research before buying a mask. You can check out the CDC website to learn more about their recommendations for public use of wearing cloth masks. Just know, their recommendation is based on having no other options for public use since N95 and surgical masks are being reserved for healthcare workers. It is not a claim that cloth masks will prevent COVID-19.
Stay safe. Stay Healthy.