FRANCISCO-fact: Are all masks created equal?

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Now that we have gone back to wearing masks, are all masks created equal?

Of course, the short answer is no, not all masks intended to prevent COVID are created equal. Clearly, some are better than others. At the top of the efficacy list are N-95 masks, followed closely by KN-95 masks. But even with these masks, there are standards of care that maximize their effectiveness. To be at their best, these masks should be changed often, in the hospital setting they are supposed to be changed after each patient contact. At church, I suppose, they should be changed daily. KN-95 masks have similar characteristics. In both cases they can filter up to 95% of all aerosol particles, though many masks sold underneath with the N95 designations are not up to the standards of the NIOSH. Before purchasing these masks, make certain they carry the certification of the NIOSH.

Cloth masks also vary in their effectiveness. Click here for a CDC page with information about the kind of cloth masks to wear and their effectiveness:

The article points out that multi-layered cloth masks are somewhere between 30% and 50% as effective as N and KN 95’s, with polypropylene and silk material providing somewhat better protection than other materials. So, they do provide protection. And wearing clean ones are best.

The best protection is the vaccine with the addition of an extra vaccine dose about eight months after the last inject (the second injection from Moderna and Pfizer, and the first injection from Johnson and Johnson).

We have asked for masking out of an abundance of caution due to the increased infections because of the Delta variant of COVID 19. The church’s leadership is monitoring the health markers daily and looking forward to rescinding our current guidelines as the Delta variant’s impact on our lives decreases.

Published by fr.david

Rector of St. Francis Church. Adopted son of the Old Dominion--Hampden-Sydney loving, Red Sox supporting, Burkean.

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