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Coronavirus: How to prepare, what to buy, how to cope
What does the research say about cloth masks' effectiveness against viruses?
First things first, The recommended option for health-care workers treating patients with COVID-19 are N95 respirator maskss, because they catch at least 95 percent of particulates (as small as 0.3 micron) and form an airtight seal over the wearer's nose and mouth. Simpler surgical masks are designed to stop splashes and droplets, and can prevent a sick person from spreading germs to others, but they do not create a seal and are nowhere near as effective as N95 masks at protecting health workers from the viruses. DIY cloth face masks are even less protective than surgical masks. But under extreme circumstances, where facemasks aren't available, the CDC says homemade masks might be used, combined with other protective gear.
“Homemade face masks are not considered personal protective equipment [what healthcare professionals call PPEs], and should be an option only when there are absolutely no respirators or facemasks left, and used with other protective equipment, such as face shields,” CDC spokesperson Arleen Porcell said in an email statement. “It’s important to note that this strategy is considered a last resort and does not adhere to the typical standards of care in the U.S., but acknowledges the hard realities on the ground.”