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July 24, 2021 https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/n95-mask-delta-variant-kn95/2021/07/23/ee849e6c-eafe-11eb-97a0-a09d10181e36_story.html
The debate over masks is heating up again, with increasing calls for all Americans, regardless of coronavirus vaccination status, to return to wearing face coverings in indoor public places to help thwart the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. But some experts say the recommendations should specify the kind of masks people should be using.
Delta is so contagious that when we talk about masks, I dont think we should just talk about masks, Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said during a recent appearance on CBSs Face the Nation. I think we should be talking about high-quality masks, such as N95 respirators.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine and an infectious-disease expert at the University of California at San Francisco, expressed a similar sentiment: We cant say were going back to masks without discussing type of mask.
Not all masks are created equal
The efficacy of a mask is based on its material and fit. Medical-grade respirators, such as N95 masks, can provide greater protection from infectious coronavirus particles than surgical masks or cloth masks, said Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech who studies airborne virus transmission. And because the delta variant is much more easily transmissible than previously circulating strains of the coronavirus, we really need highly protective masks along with everything else, Marr said. Where a simple cloth mask was helpful before, its not helpful enough now, particularly for people who remain unvaccinated.
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