I went to the CDC website and reads an updated message on what masks to buy and wear. I even listened to an 1 1/2 hour “webinar” on masks. Basically what I learned is there are a lot of scams and counterfeits out there. About 60% of the masks sold are counterfeit or don’t meet NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and FDA approval standards. Part of what they do is test masks to see if they’re up to standards.
For this Omicron variant the best masks are the N95’s. By the way, if you’re interested in any of this stuff don’t take my word for it, go to the CDC website and read up on masks, it’s very interesting. There are other types listed that are just as good or better though. The masks need to be NIOSH approved. The second best are KN95’s but that’s where it gets tricky. NIOSH doesn’t approve all of them but some are OK. And that’s how the article on the CDC website went. It was full of exceptions and contradictions so that even the experts in the webinar say there are basically no sure hard and fast rules too make sure you’re getting the correct mask. I remember they said almost any mask with ear straps does not protect you as it should. The best ones are the ones that strap around the back of your head.
Half the KN95’s coming from mainly China have fraudulent markings saying they are OK when they are not. And if you delve deeper and investigate, the paperwork and certificates of authenticity are forged. And if you call the manufacturer directly, they most likely will answer any question with what you want to hear, even if it’s false information. It’s a mess out there and you can easily drop $50 or $70 for a box of masks and get nothing for your money or you can be thinking you’re fully protected while you’re not, because the masks have not been tested with the NIOSH and FDA standards. That said, the message said that any mask is better than no mask to stop the spread. And you can find masks that may not be the best but they’re still passable. This is how confusing this article was. I read pages and pages on the CDC website and it’s impossible for me to relay all the information here.
A general rule of thumb is before you buy masks from a company, research it. Go to independent websites that rate companies for their reliability. The scary part is I read up on the CDC website in depth and I still don’t know for sure what masks are guaranteed to meet the NIOSH approval. And you guys probably won’t even get this far in my post and you’re missing out on some valuable info.