ProjectN95 director on masks: ‘Make sure you know what you’re buying’


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As COVID-19 variants spread across the country, health experts are encouraging people to up their mask game.

In January, experts suggested either wearing two cloth face coverings or upgrading to a heavy duty medical mask like the N-95, but these have been hard to find and fake ones are popping up online.

Project N-95 Director Anne Miller said her organizations works to help everyone get quality personal protective equipment (PPE) from trusted suppliers.

“We do the research so you don’t have to,” she said.

One of the differences between KN-95 and N-95 respirators is how they’re worn: the former have ear loops, the latter have head straps, according to Miller.

“Because of that compression fit, that’s how [N-95 masks] achieve their filtration efficiency,” she explained.

Miller said the FDA has a list of 167 N-95 brands that have been granted emergency use authorization.

“You can buy from whatever your preferred location is, but make sure you know what you’re buying,” she said, adding that you want to be sure to buy something that been granted emergency use authorization by the FDA.

Miller explained that although there was a shortage in these heavy duty medical masks at the beginning of the pandemic, that is no longer the case.

“Over time the world demand for PPE has decreased, a lot of the other countries have gotten their COVID under control, so the world isn’t demanding as much in terms of masks,” she said. “At the same time domestic production has increased and so we are able to see an increase in supply.”

Miller said there’s also the option to double mask, but recommends that people wear a surgical mask underneath a cloth mask.

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