When the pandemic started two years ago, public health experts were keen that everyone wear face covering, regardless of whether it was made of fabric, to help regulate and even prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Propose by 2022, and experts are now advising the public against using cloth masks if they want to stay protected from SARS-CoV-2.

“We encourage people to switch from the cloth mask to a more surgical mask. We now know a lot more about this virus than we did a year ago, ”said SSM Health Dr. David Ottenbaker told Channel3000.com this week.

For Ottenbaker and many other scientists and medical professionals, there is more than enough data to show that fabric masks are no longer enough to protect against the newer strains of SARS-CoV-2, especially the Omicron variant.

Respirators that filter Omicron

Researchers across the country have found that fabric face coverings are significantly less effective than surgical masks against omicrons. Because of this, they encourage the public to choose surgical respirators instead of cloth masks.

Dr. Lindsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, told CBS Boston Monday that cloth masks offer some level of protection against the earlier tribes but are not up to the Omicron variant.

“The typical cloth mask is around 50% effective, and while that used to be fine, Omicron doesn’t seem to be doing it,” Marr told the news agency before pricing the N95 mask as the face cover of choice on the COVID-19 surge due to the Omicron variant.

“We have special respirators like N95 that offer much better protection. They are able to block 95 percent of the particles that either come out of your mouth or that you breathe in, ”she said.

Marr also suggested other respirators that the public can use to contain the situation, such as the KN95 and KF94 masks. The former is the Chinese version of the US N95 respirator, while the latter is the South Korean version of the face cover.

All three types of respirators can prevent the transmission of COVID-19 because they can filter out particles, such as the Omicron variant. But Marr also pointed out that the fit of the respirators is crucial to ensure the best possible protection against Omicron.

“What you need is a good seal, especially around your nose, and you want to make sure there are no gaps on the sides of your cheeks or chin,” she noted.

What the CDC says

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have continued to promote cloth masks as part of personal protective equipment that the masses can use during the ongoing pandemic. The health department also recommends disposable face masks such as surgical masks or medical intervention masks.

However, the CDC has also updated their online guides to advise that when supplies are available, people should choose the basic N95 respirators over cloth masks, especially if they are in, or at a higher risk, locations and areas Are at risk of suffering from serious illness due to underlying diseases.

The agency also indicated on its website that specially labeled “surgical” N95 respirators should be given priority for healthcare workers as they are at higher risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus in their workplace.


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