On February 10, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued updated guidance and a report emphasizing the importance of a wearing a mask that fits tightly over the face to slow the spread of COVID-19. The report, which provides the basis for the CDC’s updated guidance, is based on CDC experiments that showed “substantially improved source control and reduced wearer exposure” when worn properly. The publications recommend two specific ways to ensure a mask works the best it can: (1) make sure the mask fits snugly against the face and (2) pick a mask with layers, or double mask.
The guidance, presented in the form of an illustrated poster, titled “Improve How Your Mask Protects You,” includes specific recommendations for how to wear a mask for maximum protection against contracting or transmitting the coronavirus including to:
- Choose a mask with a nose wire;
- Use a mask filter or brace to prevent air leakage;
- Check for a snug fit over nose, mouth and chin;
- Wear a cloth mask with multiple layers or a disposable mask under a cloth one; and
- Knot and tie ear loops of 3-ply masks where they join the edge of the mask and tuck in any unneeded material around the edges (see CDC’s instructional video).
The guidance also includes recommendations of what not to do, including, not to:
- Combine disposable masks; or
- Combine a KN95 mask with any other mask.
Overall, the guidance reiterates the importance of correct and consistent mask use as a critical step everyone can take to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19. It reminds people that “masks work best when everyone wears them, but not all masks provide the same protection” and when choosing a mask to “look at how well it fits, how well it filters the air, and how many layers it has.”
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Please contact Susan Gross Sholinksy for assistance with questions regarding the CDC’s new mask guidance.
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