According to a report from the spring of 2021, if both an infected and an uninfected person wore cloth masks, it would take about 27 minutes for an infectious dose of COVID-19 to reach the uninfected person. If both wear surgical masks, this time increases to about an hour. And if they both carry even an unmounted N95, then it will take 25 hours to receive an infectious dose. This was before the Delta or Omicron variants, but you need to give an idea of their performance levels relative to each other.
How to avoid fake masks?
There are a number of ways to spot fake N95 masks, such as by looking for markings on the mask itself or by avoiding N95 masks sold to children (as NIOSH does not approve any type of respirators for children). The CDC offers much more in-depth guidance on how to avoid N95 counterfeits on your site.
We do not recommend buying only every mask you see on Amazon, as Amazon allows third-party vendors on its platform who may not test the products, as well as those sold by Amazon.com. Walmart, Target and other retailers may also sell masks to third parties. The masks on this list are generally legal, as are many masks that you will find in major retailers such as CVS or from American manufacturers.
Earlier in the pandemic, the CDC allowed the emergency use of KN95, KF94 and other non-N95 masks in healthcare facilities, but this order was revoked in June 2021. However, many KN95 or KF94 masks are still more than enough. for everyday use for low-risk people and they are much better than no mask. So when shopping for a mask, keep in mind what your needs are and how you plan to use the masks you buy.
Can I reuse disposable masks?
If you walk into a gas station in two minutes on the way to work with a brand new N95 included, do you have to throw it away and use a new one when you go to work? Not exactly.
According to CDC guidelines, N95 masks will lose their effectiveness in a few hours, but will also become less effective the more times they are put on and taken off. Part of the reason for this is that the elastic bands wear out and lead to less tight fit. The CDC recommends that if you cannot find data from the mask manufacturer on how many times you can put on and take off the mask, do not remove or change the mask more than five times. However, this advice is given in the context of hospital conditions.