Omicron has surpassed all other coronavirus variations in the United States, accounting for 73% of new infections last week, federal health officials reported Monday.
With the coronavirus’s variants increased airborne dissemination, it’s critical to improve the fit and filtration of masks – improvements that go beyond the loose, cloth face covers that were popular in 2020. Upgrade the level of protection provided by your mask.
Why are masks necessary?
Individuals who have been vaccinated and had their booster are effectively protected against serious disease, hospitalization, and death unless they have compromised immune systems.
According to officials, the highly altered strain of the newest variety likely indicates that more vaccinated persons will become infected than with previous variants, including Delta. However, even if vaccinated individuals contract the disease, they are more likely to exhibit no symptoms or relatively mild symptoms.
Nonetheless, persons who have been vaccinated and boosted remain the least likely to get a coronavirus infection. Unvaccinated individuals have the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 and being hospitalized.
The California Department of Public Health’s ranks the protectiveness of various types of masks as follows:
The most effective masks
- N95, KN95, and KF94 masks are the best. Avoid wearing a second face covering over these masks.
- Better than loose cloth masks alone are the surgical masks. They are generally referred to as blue masks because of the light color on the outside of the masks.
- Surgical masks can be enhanced in effectiveness by layering a fabric mask over the surgical mask, which creates a more snug fit for the face covering. (Officials advise against the use of two surgical masks.)
- Throw away the mask if it is wet/dirty or after one day of use
- Gaps on the sides of a surgical mask render it less protective than a mask that fits snugly.
- Virus-infected air can easily leak in and out around the sides of the mask. A proper fit forces the air you exhale and inhale to pass through the mask and be filtered.
According to the California Department of Public Health, effective masks possess the following characteristics:
- Two layers of tightly woven cotton fabric are sandwiched between two layers of non-woven cloth. A mask filter insert or a synthetic fabric such as polypropylene could be used as the third layer.
- Nose wires help close up any gaps in the nose.
- Adjustable ear loops or straps that wrap around the head to minimize facial gaps.
- Face coverings lacking these qualities should not be utilized in high-risk scenarios. Two-layer cotton masks, bandanas, and gaiters are all examples of less-effective face coverings
Even yet, any cotton mask is preferable to none at all.