Health

The CDC is updating advice on the best masks — but it just wants you to wear one, which ones

Zoom / Dr. Rochelle Walinsky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on January 11, 2022 in Washington, DC.

As cases of the transmissible omicron coronavirus continue to increase in the US, many US experts have pushed to upgrade their masks to better protect themselves – for example, ditching the fashionable handmade cloth masks in spring 2020 for options like – quality N95s and KN95s are now more available.

Noting this shift, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today that it is updating the mask guidelines on its website, which have not been updated since last fall, prior to the rise of omicron. Meanwhile, the White House is seriously considering providing high-quality masks to Americans.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, the White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeffrey Zentes offered few details about what the federal mask distribution program might look like or when it might come, noting only, “We are now aggressively considering options for more High-quality masks are available to all Americans.”

Any future distribution of masks would be too late to stop the tsunami of oomicron cases that are now towering over the United States. But it could help Americans recover from the wave more quickly and avoid future waves as the SARS-CoV-2 virus takes hold, experts predict.

However, the hope that Americans will wear high-quality masks – even when the government distributes them for free – seems overly optimistic. Mask use in various places has been among the most controversial and divided disease prevention methods throughout the pandemic. Unfortunately, they still are even in the third year of the epidemic and after several studies have indicated their effectiveness in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19.

While an upcoming mask update from the CDC is likely to highlight the high efficacy of high-quality, double-masking, and tight-fitting masks, the CDC has made it clear that it will settle for almost any type of masking, as long as the mask covers people’s mouths. and noses.

During the White House press conference, CDC Director Rochelle Walinsky spoke clearly, saying the agency’s mask website “needs an update now.” But she continued, “What I’m going to say is the best mask you can wear…a mask that you can wear and a mask that you can keep all day – that you can carry around in public and indoors and carry where you need to wear it.”

“We will provide information on the improved filtration that occurs with other masks, such as N95s, and information the public needs on how to choose the right mask for them,” Dr. Walinsky added. But overall, “the CDC continues to recommend that any mask is better than no mask.”

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