Is it time to step up your mask wearing?

Is it time to step up your mask wearing?

12/30/21

With the arrival of the much more contagious Omicron Covid variant, medical and public health experts are recommending the use of masks in the following situations:

  1. all public indoor spaces in areas of high community transmission, regardless of vaccination status; (which as of now includes most of Maine)
  2. crowded outdoor settings; and
  3. indoor and outdoor activities, in which you are likely to have close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.

Where can you buy masks?

At time of writing here are some useful resources:

https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/where-to-buy-n95-kn95-masks-online/

https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-disposable-face-masks.html

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-we-need-to-upgrade-our-face-masks-and-where-to-get-them/

CDC list of approved respirators:
https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/disp_part/n95list1sect3.html


When wearing a mask, you should step up your game with masking:

(1) Because Omicron is so contagious, a cloth mask alone may not be enough to protect you from getting sick. Consider wearing a disposable medical mask with a cloth mask over the top, as shown below. Both masks have some leakage and the cloth mask over the top will mean a better fit.


(2) N95, KN95, and KF94 masks are medical grade respirators and are much better at filtering out particles that may be carrying the COVID virus. These masks have multiple layers and are now recommended for the general public, as well as for health care workers.


(3) When you use a mask, check its fit to ensure that it will protect you and others:

a) Does it fit properly over your nose and mouth to prevent leaks? If your glasses are fogging you don’t have a great fit.

b) How well does it fit your face and are there gaps?

c) Your mask should have at least two layers, but three is better.

d) Does it have a nose wire for better fit?


References

  1. CDC. COVID-19: Omicron Variant: What You Need to Know. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/omicron-variant.html.
  2. CDC. COVID-19: Types of Masks and Respirators. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/types-of-masks.html.
  3. CDC. COVID-19: Your Guide to Masks. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html.
    December 30, 2021 Yarmouth Community Coronavirus Task Force