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Thursday, January 20, 2022

CDC advises more Americans to wear N95 masks in updated guidance

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday updated its mask guidelines recommending that more Americans wear masks such as N95 or KN95 masks, a type of respirator primarily used by healthcare professionals.

The Federal Health Agency has lifted concerns it had previously raised that such masks were in short supply and should only be used by those working in the medical sector.

In updated guidance, the CDC emphasized that properly fitted N95 and KN95 masks provide the most protection against COVID-19, saying shortages are no longer a concern.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said during a Jan. 12 news conference that CDC Director Rochelle Walensky recommends that Americans wear a “suitable mask,” which may include multi-layered cloth masks, N95, K95, or other masks. types.

Jeff Zients, White House chief of COVID-19 response, speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington, April 13, 2021. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Zients added that N95 masks are currently “widely available” in the United States, and the government “has a large stockpile of more than 750 million masks.”

“One of the first things we did when we took office was to significantly improve our production and stocks of all personal protective equipment,” he said.

Despite the change in the agency’s advice on masks, Walansky said the CDC continues to advise Americans that any mask is better than no mask.

The latest CDC guidance notes that there is a specific category of “N95 surgical masks” specifically designed to protect against blood spatter and other operating room hazards. The agency said they are not normally available for sale to the public and should remain reserved for medical professionals.

The CDC and health experts have developed guidelines for the use of masks during the CCP (Communist Party of China) virus pandemic.

In an earlier update, CDC officials said disposable N95 masks can be used in certain situations if supplies allow. The agency included being around a large number of people for an extended period of time on a train, bus, or plane; caring for a sick person; or be more susceptible to severe illness.

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Nurse Scott McGeeson, wearing an N95 mask, walks out of a patient’s room at the emergency room at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on January 14, 2022. (Elaine Thompson/AP Photo)

Compared to more widely used surgical masks or cloth face coverings, when properly worn, N95 masks fit more closely to the face and provide at least 95 percent protection against airborne viruses, according to the CDC.

Meanwhile, KN95 masks, which work similarly to N95 masks, are regulated by the Chinese authorities. They have been approved by the CDC as a suitable alternative to N95 masks due to shortages during the outbreak of the pandemic last year, although some have previously raised concerns that most uncertified KN95 masks from China do not meet US performance standards.

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Virginia) sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) on January 11 requesting that masks and other personal protective equipment provided to members of Congress be made domestically.

“Members of Congress should not wear masks made by hostile regimes. President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party pose a clear and present threat to our nation that should be taken seriously,” the letter said.

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden said the government would soon begin efforts to provide free “high quality masks” to Americans.

“So next week we will announce that we are making high quality masks available to the American people, the American people for free,” said Biden, who was maskless during a speech at Eisenhower’s executive office building. in Washington on January 13th.

The Biden administration, which has been battling a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks, is responding by expanding access to COVID-19 tests and sending military medical teams to hospitals, among other initiatives.

Danella Perez Shmielos and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

From NTD news

Lorenz Duchamp

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