It might be time to change the mask type

(CNN) – If you continue to use a file cloth mask Or surgery When you go out, it’s time to rethink protecting your face.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will work on Update your mask recommendations this week To better reflect available options and the different levels of protection they offer, a CDC official told CNN on Tuesday.

Many experts claim that cloth and surgical masks do not provide sufficient protection, and recommend the use of N95 or FFP2 masks instead.

Improved masks have already become the norm in much of Europe. Germany requires the use of FFP2 masks in shops, on public transport and in other public places. Neighboring Austria made FFP2 masks mandatory outside on Tuesday, when it is not possible to stay at least six feet away from strangers, and they have been required indoors since last month.

Italy has imposed high-resistance masks for entering stadiums, museums, cinemas and theaters, and using public transport since December. And in Greece, anyone who has come out of the isolation period must wear a mask in any public place for five days.

The different terms for using masks can be confusing, but all refer to the level of filtration they provide and there is no doubt that FFP2, N95 or KN95 models offer better protection than cloth or other fabrics.

Cloth masks, which were proposed early in the pandemic, can stop large droplets, while more effective masks can also filter out potentially virus-laden aerosols or smaller particles from the air.

Properly fitted N95 masks approved by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health can filter up to 95% of airborne particles, according to the CDC.

FFP2 or N95 masks are already mandatory in some parts of Europe.

In contrast, a cloth mask also has 75% internal and external seepage, which the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists defines as the “percentage of particles entering the mask” and “the percentage of particles exhaled by the mask. The source exiting the mask”, respectively. .

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the center, said that people concerned about how best to protect themselves and their loved ones during this wave of omicron variant cases should “get a high-quality mask that you can afford and that is available to you.” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN reporter Anderson Cooper, noting a change in official advice.

“What the CDC has said, and it has been misunderstood, is that wearing any mask is better than no mask,” Fauci said. “But there is a gradient in being able to prevent you from getting an infection and passing it on to someone else. So we have to use the best masks we can get. That’s a fact.”

CNN’s Nina Avramova contributed to this report.

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