In recent months, reports about the rapid rise of Coronavirus cases have become a daily occurrence, as medical experts keep us informed about the latest developments. Updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that case numbers are rising due to the predominance of the Omicron variant.
As many of us return to work and school, now may be a good time to review recommended protocols for protecting ourselves and our communities. According to the CDC, some of the most effective steps we can take to reduce the virus’s spread are getting vaccinated, practicing social distancing, and wearing a high-quality, well-fitting mask.
Understanding Masks and Their Benefits
SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) mainly transmits from breathing, coughing, or talking. Surgical masks and N95 respirators are two valuable resources you can use to help protect yourself and others from contracting and spreading respiratory viruses. Surgical masks and N95 respirators are disposable coverings that provide a physical barrier between external contaminants and the mouth and nose of the person wearing them. Surgical masks are loose-fitting, while N95s provide a firm seal.
Filtering the Mask Facts
Experts are working hard to solve this ongoing crisis, but everyone can help by staying informed and actively following safety measures. According to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, the CDC has updated Covid-19 mask recommendations to supply further information that people can use to improve how well their masks protect them. In summary, the new guidance states:
With the update, the CDC now says that people “may choose” to wear N95 of KN95 masks because they present the strongest protection against Covid-19. One thing that hasn’t changed—as Walensky emphasized, “Any mask is better than no mask . . . Most importantly, the best mask that you wear is the one you will wear and the one you can keep on all day long and tolerate in public indoor settings.”
The challenges produced by the pandemic can sometimes feel daunting, but there are small steps you can take to decrease stress. With guidance from the CDC and other organizations, we now have a variety of tools and protocols at our disposal to optimize our health and reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. These methods may seem familiar and straightforward by now, but they are worth keeping in mind as we work together to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities.