N95, KN95 mask recommended to limit Omicron spread says UF Health epidemiologist
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - There’s been confusion surrounding face masks and one u-f health epidemiologist says some masks are less effective because of the omicron variant surge. Dr. Prins recommends N95 or KN95 masks more than cloth or surgical masks.
“It’s helpful to wear a mask that’s a little bit more protective,” Dr. Prins said.
The CDC is expected to make a similar recommendation.
“A cloth mask is somewhat effective but it’s not going to be the best protection and it’s really the lowest level of protection that a person can wear,” Dr. Prins said. “A surgical mask is going to give a little bit more protection but it’s still not going to be as effective as an N95 or kn95.”
She said N95 and KN95 are 95 percent effective because of the filter. They also fit your face tighter.
“A kn95 or n95 mask that fits well, that has a nice tight seal around the face is not going to have that same effect,” Dr. Prins said. “You’re going to breathe through the mask instead of around it and because that mask is so good filtering, you’re not going to get viral particles or as many viral particles.”
The N95 and KN95 masks are not that easy to find. TV20s Camille Syed went to four stores looking for one of the two masks and had no luck.
TV20 also looked to see how much the n95 and kn94 were on amazon, and prices are very high for a pack compared to surgical masks.
President Biden announced he’d be sending those masks to people for free if they want one.
“It’s an important point that we don’t have equity in being able to acquire a mask and I think you’ll often find that people who can’t afford it may be people who are frontline workers,” Prins said.
Prins said you can re-wear the N95 or KN95 mask as long as there are no rips and they aren’t soiled.
She also adds you can wear a surgical mask and a cloth mask on top to limit the spread as well.
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