There is a fourth wave of COVID-19 sweeping over the United States fueled by the Delta variant. It has the debate over mask heating up, again.
It turns out your old cloth mask might not cut it. Let’s connect the dots.
Delta variant more contagious
Any way you look at it, the Delta variant is a lot more contagious with evidence indicating it can travel from person to person in just seconds and with limited contact. Researchers have found people infected with Delta have a thousand times higher viral load than people infected with the original coronavirus strain. That has helped it race across the country and has public health officials asking even the vaccinated to mask up again.
Better masks N95 respirators
Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, recommends a high quality mask, such as the N95 respirators. Those are the medical-grade masks.
They provide more protection than cloth or surgical masks. Cloth masks can be problematic because they don’t filter out enough particles, and surgical masks don’t fit tight to your face.
Not for kids, focus on comfort
There is one group that should not be wearing N95 masks: children.
They have not been approved for use in kids, and more importantly, can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. Experts say it is better to find a mask that kids can wear comfortably to encourage use. And of course, your best protection is a vaccine shot.