December 3, 2023

After much debate, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week decided to not update its mask guidance to recommend that people opt for the highly protective N95 or KN95 masks.

Instead, the organization is continuing to endorse that people across the country simply wear any type of mask when in public settings.

“Any mask is better than no mask and we do encourage all Americans to wear a well-fitting mask to protect themselves and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during the White House COVID-19 response team briefing Wednesday.

However, these masks remain in high demand as the Omicron variant spreads across the greater Kansas City metro.

But what are N95 and KN95 masks? And why do many health experts think they are more beneficial than cloth masks?

Below the Post answers some questions you may have about these types of masks.

What are KN95 and N95 masks?

Both N95 and KN95 masks are medical-grade respirator-style masks that can filter up to 95% of particles in the air and are made to create an airtight seal around the user’s face.

You’re able to buy both kinds of masks at stores or online, but the difference is in where they are manufactured.

N95 masks are made in the U.S. KN95 masks are made in China, according to the CDC. That means, there is less regulatory oversight over KN95 mask manufacturing.

In April 2020, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of KN95 masks due to a shortage of N95…

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