Health officials consider which type of mask is safer to wear

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 10:27 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Much of the increase in COVID-19 cases is tied to the omicron variant spreading everywhere. It has health experts thinking of updating some measures to stop the spread, starting as simple as what type of mask you wear.

It’s a confusing time for all of us, and now questions are being raised about the differences between N95, surgical, and cloth masks.

“The difference has to do with how much they can filter, the way they’re made and the way they fit,” physician Dr. Jeff Foxx said.

Dr. Foxx broke the difference down like this:

“This right here is an N95 mask. It’s molded, sits tighter and goes on your face tighter. And it works better. This one right here is a KN95 mask. It’s folded in the middle, usually has pieces that go over your ears rather than over your head. This one right here is a surgical mask. Again, doesn’t fit as tight, has layers, does go over your ears. Then this one right here is a cloth mask. So you start with N95 best protection then down to cloth mask,” Dr. Foxx said.

The CDC recently announced they may update their mask recommendations as the highly contagious omicron variant continues to spread. They already said they are urging everyone to return to masking indoors, but now they may start recommending the N95 or KN95 masks. Dr. Foxx emphasized the importance of wearing masks around others.

“If you’re in a crowd, going shopping, going into a store, going to be around people, if you wear a mask, you may be protecting people if you have the virus and you don’t even know,” Dr. Foxx said.

If these recommendations from healthcare professionals weren’t enough, UK Basketball Coach John Calipari made a video of his own, highly encouraging fans to wear the N95 or KN95 masks to games for the next couple of weeks.

“I’ve got to keep these kids safe. Got to mitigate. Wear that mask,” Calipari said.

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Dr. Foxx did say any face covering, is better than no face covering.

The university did send out letters to students and staff saying everyone on campus will get two N-95 masks. Dr. Foxx wants to urge you to buy these types of masks locally, as they are seeing some counterfeit ones being sold online.

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