US CDC urges Americans to wear ‘most protective mask you can’

The CDC said it wants to encourage Americans to wear masks rather than push them to wear the highest-grade face protection, but also explicitly said that respirators provide the best level of protection. It said that “loosely woven cloth products provide the least protection.”

“Masking is a critical public health tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and it is important to remember that any mask is better than no mask,” the CDC added.

The CDC said the revised recommendations “reflect the science on masking, including what we have learned in the past two years”, since the start of the pandemic.

More Americans have been recently opting for higher-grade protection amid the surge in cases.

The United States is tallying about 1,800 COVID-19 deaths and 780,000 new infections daily – the most in the world – as well as record levels of hospitalized patients.

The Omicron-related surge appears to be slowing in areas that were hit first, including states in the Northeast and South, according to a Reuters analysis. In Western states, the number of new cases climbed 89 per cent in the past week compared with the previous week.

The CDC last May announced that fully vaccinated people could shed their face coverings, as COVID-19 cases were then on the decline. But in July, the CDC said fully vaccinated people should wear masks in indoor public places in regions where COVID-19 was spreading rapidly. The CDC said this week 99.5 per cent of US counties currently are covered by the mask recommendation.

Some US N95 makers told Reuters they had record N95 sales after Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, recommended on CNN that Americans “get the highest quality mask that you can tolerate and that’s available to you”.

N95 masks that are worn correctly will filter out at least 95 per cent of particulate matter in the air, preventing anything larger than 0.3 microns from passing through.

Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous, on Monday will require some employers to provide “medical-grade” masks – surgical masks, KF94, KN95s or N95s – to workers at high risk of contracting a COVID-19 infection on the job.

Masks remain polarising. Biden, a Democrat, this week again urged people to wear masks and noted that about a third of Americans report they do not wear a mask at all. Many Republican-leaning states have no mask requirements. Some Democratic-governed states such as California have reimposed indoor mask mandates.

Blair Childs, an executive at Premier Inc, a group-purchasing company for hospitals, expressed concern about legislation backed by US Senator Bernie Sanders that would send every person in the country a pack of three N95 masks. Childs said such proposals could “throw the healthcare supply chain into disarray”.

Days after taking office in January 2021, Biden imposed mask requirements on airplanes, trains and public transit and in airports and other transit hubs – actions his predecessor Donald Trump declined to take. Biden last month extended the transit mask requirements through Mar 18.

US CDC urges Americans to wear ‘most protective mask you can’ Source link US CDC urges Americans to wear ‘most protective mask you can’

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