Wearing a properly fitting N95 or KN95 mask can reduce a person's risk of Covid infection by 83%

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Wearing a properly fitting N95 or KN95 mask can reduce a person’s risk of infection from Covid by 83%, CDC study finds

  • An N95 or KN95 mask can reduce a person’s risk of Covid infection by 83%, a CDC study finds
  • A cloth mask only cuts risk in half, while a surgical mask drops the risk by 63%, the study finds
  • Study was performed before the rise of the Omicron variant, which experts believe only N95 and KN95 masks are effective against
  • There has been a recent rush of the highly effective masks, causing the federal government to have to distribute them freely via pharmacies 


Wearing a properly fitting, N95 or KN95 mask can a reduce a person’s likelihood of being infected from Covid by 83 percent, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study reveals.

The research team gathered data from over 2,000 people in California who were tested for Covid from Febraury to December 2021.

Participants reported their mask usage in the time preceding the Covid test – whether it was negative or positive – and whether they had a known exposure to the virus.

Researchers found that wearing any kind of mask reduced Covid risk, a surgical mask decreased risk 63 percent and cloth mask by around 50 percent, but the N95 and KN95 masks were by far the most effective.

The masks have been deemed the gold standard, and the only ones effective enough to prevent transmission of the Omicron variant. They have been in short supply in recent weeks, though, and the federal government has moved to increase the supply available to Americans.

The CDC found that wearing a KN95 and N95 mask could reduce risk of catching Covid 83%, the most effective of any mask. Cloth masks reduced risk of infection by 50% and surgical masks dropped it 63%

The CDC found that wearing a KN95 and N95 mask could reduce risk of catching Covid 83%, the most effective of any mask. Cloth masks reduced risk of infection by 50% and surgical masks dropped it 63%

The study was performed before the rise of the Omicron variant, which scientists believe only N95 masks are effective against. Pictured: A man in Seattle, Michigan takes off an N95 mask

The study was performed before the rise of the Omicron variant, which scientists believe only N95 masks are effective against. Pictured: A man in Seattle, Michigan takes off an N95 mask

‘Using a face mask or respirator in indoor public settings was associated with lower odds of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection, with protection being highest among those who reported wearing a face mask or respirator all of the time,’ researchers wrote.

‘Although consistent use of any face mask or respirator indoors was protective, the adjusted odds of infection were lowest among persons who reported typically wearing an N95/KN95 respirator, followed by wearing a surgical mask.’

Researchers, who published their findings Friday, randomly selected 652 Covid positive patients, and matched them with 1,176 who tested negative.

Participants in the study were questioned on whether they frequently masked in public settings, and what kind of mask the generally used.  

The study was notably performed before the rise of the Omicron variant in early-to-mid December and largely contains the Delta variant’s dominance in the U.S.

They found that KN95 and N95 mask wearers only tested positive around 17 percent as often as those that report they did not wear masks at all, the best of any of the masks.

‘These data from real-world settings reinforce the importance of consistently wearing face masks or respirators to reduce the risk of acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 infection among the general public in indoor community settings,’ researchers wrote.

Bill Taubner, president of Bona Fide Masks, one of 13 companies that produces Food and Drug Administration authorized masks in the U.S., explained why KN95 and N95 masks are so effective.

He told DailyMail.com last month that a well fitting version of the masks has a filtration efficiency of around 95 percent – hence the name.

The masks have been in short supply recently, though. Amid the rise of the Omicron variant, scientists found that cloth masks and even surgical masks were almost entirely ineffective at preventing transmission of the virus.

A rush of KN95 and N95 masks ensued, causing then to fly off of shelves.

In response, Taubner said his company was going to triple production of the masks, and even keep the factories based in China open through the Lunar New Year to help meet surging demand.

The Biden administration also purchased 400 masks to be distributed freely in pharmacies around the country, though the number breaks down to only around one mask per-American, which some believe is not enough to prevent transmission long-term. 

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