As mask mandates come rolling back in, the N-95 mask is being strongly advised, as cloth face coverings are not deemed effective enough. Especially with new and more contagious variants of the coronavirus sweeping the nation.
So, what’s the difference between these types of face masks? What is an N-95 mask, and where can you still find N95 masks for sale?
Let’s break down the latest coverage, medical guidance, who has to wear them, the science and data. Plus, where to buy N95 masks.
Just when we thought we were done with all of the pandemic mandates and restrictions, they’ve come roaring back with the rampant spread of a new strain of COVID-19.
This new even more contagious variation of COVID seems to have completely reversed any progress already made over the past 18 months.
Have a mask. Be sure you have one that really works.
The Delta Strain
Although even more newly evolved variants of the coronavirus are expected to be spreading undetected so far, Delta has rocked the country again.
Delta seems to have evolved to become far more transmissible than original strains and appears to be impacting all age groups.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recorded an 85% surge in infections in children in the first few days of August alone. That comes after a 19% increase in positive cases among children the previous week.
Hospitals are again reportedly putting a hold on elective surgeries. Some have already seen ERs overwhelmed, and are relying on ambulances as extensions of their facilities to triage patients they don’t have room for.
Sadly, it appears that we are returning to all of the pandemic restrictions of 2020.
Mandating travelers get vaccinations is a hot issue. Though at the time of publishing this it was still possible to travel between most US states.
The FHFA and CFPB recently issued new rules amounting to a new foreclosure moratorium until at least 2022. The first week of August 2021 saw a new eviction ban being put in place through Halloween. Out of fear, too many people would be put outside, when they should be spending more time sheltering at home. Some politicians have even called for blanket help for covering water and electric services and preventing cutoffs.
Major employers like Wells Fargo and Apple have backtracked on plans to return to the office. Or have indefinitely put them on hold.
New mask mandates appear to be the most notable and widespread change.
According to the latest data from the US Census Bureau and CDC on August 5th, 2021, vaccinations appear to have stalled. With only around 50% of the population being vaccinated. Some states are even lower. Texas had only around 30% of its population vaccinated. California and Florida were still under 50%.
That may have plateaued as no amount of bribes seem to be moving the needle. Not scratch-off tickets, free drinks, cash, or free college tuition.
As more concerns about vaccines arise, and a third dose is said to be needed to handle the Deltra strain, officials seem to have a hard time convincing more people to get jabbed. Even despite going door to door.
Regardless of vaccination status, everyone is being told to wear masks again.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director, Dr. Francis Collins has even appeared on the news saying that vaccinated parents should be wearing masks in their homes to protect their children.
Unfortunately, while the medical advisers report that vaccinations can reduce chances of death and hospitalizations, they are no replacement for masks. Leading to some perhaps deducing that masks are even more effective than vaccines for stopping the spread of infection.
According to US News & World Report, at least 16 US states and territories have mask mandates. A number expected to dramatically increase in the days ahead. In addition to many local governments instituting their own mandates and laws.
Even cities and businesses in Texas and Florida are installing their own mask mandates. Even while their governors have held out against them.
Top epidemiologist and Biden COVD advisor Michael Osterholm has declared cloth masks ineffective and is urging everyone who doesn’t have one to get N-95 respirator masks.
Cloth masks which are now sold in most stores are considered to not be very effective at protecting you or others. This includes bandanas, neck gaiters, homemade masks, and ‘fashion’ masks.
They just don’t provide the necessary filtration protection. Most do not wash these masks or throw them away after each use as they should. They do not provide the correct fitting and seal to prevent sucking in even more infected air.
N95 respirators are professional-level masks. They are scientifically tested to specific high-level standards and are approved by NIOSH. The 95 rating specifies that they have been tested and proven to keep out 95% of all airborne particulates, down to 3 microns in size.
N95 masks are not reusable. Except in extreme circumstances. Though top suppliers do offer affordable options.
Those who want to go even further may opt for the ultimate protection of the N99 mask. These respirators keep out 99% of airborne particles.
The CDC has always recommended N95 respirator masks on its website.
However, in order to reduce buying, and to preserve supplies of N95 masks, including for healthcare professionals, they downplayed how essential they were at the beginning of the pandemic.
Now with this new and even more contagious virus, they appear to have had no choice but to publicly declare them necessary.
Of course, you may even double layer them if you want to be fashionable as well as safe. For example, wearing a designer cloth mask on top of an N95 respirator.
Only buy N95 masks for sale that display the official NIOSH mark and an approval number.
The best choice to avoid counterfeits is to purchase them directly from certified manufacturers like bielcor.com.