CDC’s guidance on face masks will not change, director says

Update 1:25 p.m. EST Jan 12: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday that the agency’s guidance on face masks would not change for now.

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“CDC continues to recommend that 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. And, the recommendation is not going to change,” Walensky said during a White House COVID-19 response team briefing.

Original report: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering a change to its mask guidance as the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus continues to circulate across the country, The Washington Post is reporting.

The CDC will probably advise people to use the N95 or KN95 mask instead of a cloth mask, the Post reported. The N95 masks are the type used by health care personnel.

“The agency is currently actively looking to update its recommendations for KN95 and N95 in light of omicron,” according to an unnamed official the Post identified as a source close to the negotiations. “We know these masks provide better filtration.”

While many people use a cloth mask to cover their nose and mouth when they are indoors, the CDC guidance is expected to say that if people can tolerate wearing a KN95 or N95 mask all day, they should.

The CDC’s current guidance says a mask should fit snugly, be made of at least two layers of breathable fabric and have a wire bridge around the nose that helps the wearer make a more snug fit.

Since early in the pandemic, which began in March 2020, the agency’s guidance has said that N95 masks should be prioritized for health care workers.

The story comes as the United States reported 1.35 million new coronavirus infections on Monday.

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