Wearing a highly protective face mask is one of the most important steps anyone can take to protect them from getting Covid.  Not all masks are anywhere close to being equally effective. A report that compared effectiveness of properly fitted masks (How well do face masks protect the wearer compared to public perceptions? | medRxiv) stated that: “Fabric face masks blocked between 62.6% and 87.1% of fine particles, whereas surgical masks protected against an average of 78.2% of fine particles. N95 masks blocked 99.6% of fine particles.” 

Jim particularly recommends the Filti NF95masks (filti.com) for better breathability for singing and fewer side leaks. Information and specs on the NF95 5-ply respirator masks (ear loops 98% filtration efficiency) can be found at https://filti.com/product/nf95-respirator/.  5 ply 3M Aura N95 Respirators (95% filter efficiency, same design as Filti NF95 but with head bands not ear loops) can be obtained at this Amazon Link (3M Aura).  5-ply KN95s (which fit faces very differently) can be found on Amazon at KN95 Masks.

Additional points to consider: 

  • The NF95s use ear loops.  The 3M Aura and many KN95s use head bands.  
  • Some KN95 imports are cheap knock offs.  Not all are equally breathable.  Look for 5-ply, FDA approved versions.
  • Generally, you can wear an NF95 for a week or more, and respirator masks cannot be washed.
  • For singing, NF95s are better than KN95s because the filter material sits farther away from the lips.  
  • KN95s are available in a wide variety of colors as well as small sizes for children.

The difference in protection offered by such masks is significant.  Not only is there significantly reduced viral transmission through the mask filter material but the reduction in air leakage vs a standard surgical style mask is dramatic.

  • Jim Downward

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