Face masks are a crucial part of minimizing the spread of deadly COVID-19 infection, but poor, fake masks have flooded the market and are a huge problem, thanks to incompetence of the Trump administration, which:
UPDATE: Genuine made in USA NIOSH approved N95 masks now available:
- Failed to update early temporary mask guidance. (Ordinary cloth masks are not terribly effective.)
- Provided little guidance to consumers on how to obtain affordable high-quality masks.
The good news is that genuine, affordable, high-quality masks are now readily available. The bad news is that it's hard to distinguish good from bad.
- The best masks meet the USA N95 standard
, but those are still in short supply.
- Good alternatives are those that meet the comparable Chinese KN95 standard.
- Manufacturer appears on the FDA PPE EUA list.
- Masks (not just packaging) are branded with a China KN95 standard:
- Medical: GB19083-2010
- Non-medical (but still effective against COVID-19): GB2626-2006, GB2626-2019
How to Avoid Fake Masks
- Manufacturer does not appear on the FDA PPE EUA list.
- Masks are not branded with a China KN95 standard (listed above).
- Masks claimed to be GB19083-2010 but "non-medical" (since that is a medical standard).
- Best filtration is melt-blown fabric in a multi-layer sandwich.
- Carbon filtering is not effective against COVID-19.
- Avoid masks with valves, because they are less effective against spreading infection.