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N95 Masks Offer Better Protection Against COVID Omicron Variant Than Cloth Face Coverings, CDC Says

COVID-19 Virus
Update on Omicron Variant

February 4, 2022 — N95 and KN95 masks, also known as a respirators, apparently offer the best protection against COVID-19, including the Omicron variant, according to the newly updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consumer mask website. People at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults and individuals with certain underlying medical conditions, may want to consider ditching their cloth mask for an N95 mask. The same may be true for people who are taking care of someone who is sick with COVID, retail workers, bus, taxi, and uber drivers, along with other individuals whose jobs require them to interact with the public at large. A long train or plane trip may also merit a switch to the best protective N95 mask. But the agency stopped short of saying that people should opt for certain masks over others.

The update clarifies that people no longer need be concerned related to supply shortages for N95s. Previously, the CDC did not recommend for the general population to wear N95 respirators or KN95s, a similar type of mask made in China. The government officials feared that a run on those higher-quality masks would impact the supply in healthcare settings. 

A new “real world” study in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) seemed to validate the efficacy of respirators, finding people who reported always wearing a N95 or KN95 mask in indoor public settings were 83% less likely to test positive for COVID-19 than people who didn’t.

Saliva Covid Test Better Than Nasal Swabs To Detect Omicron. 4U Health. Updated February 24, 2022.

5 Reasons To Keep PCR Home COVID Test Kits on Hand. 4U Health. Updated December 6, 2021.

Ditch Nose Swabs for a Home Saliva PCR Covid Test Kit. 4U Health. Updated December 6, 2021.

About 4U Health

4U Health offers at-home lab testing to help you feel like your best self. Visit us at 4uHealth.com to learn about our COVID-19 Antibody Self-Collection At Home Test Kit, explore healthy living and wellness topics, and view our full at-home lab testing menu.

If you’re interested in hospital grade home PCR COVID test kits to detect COVID-19 (including Omicron and its other variants), check out 4U Health’s COVID-19 Active Infection Self-Collection Test. It’s approved for children 5+ and adults alike. For the timeliest results, we recommend having our “just-in-case” saliva kit stocked in your medicine cabinet so you can test on your terms. Overnight shipping is included and official digital results are typically within 24 hours of receipt by the lab.

Updated: February 24, 2022