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Recent study shows well-fitted mask reduces the wearer’s chances of contracting COVID-19

From: Emergency Management; University Relations

Wearing a well-fitted mask significantly reduces the mask wearer’s chances of contracting COVID-19.

According to a study released Feb. 4 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing a face mask in indoor public settings was associated with lower odds of acquiring SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The study was conducted from February through December 2021 in California using two groups of people who self-reported mask use in indoor public spaces 14 days before they were tested for COVID-19.

Using comfortable, well-fitted masks or a respirator with a higher filtration capability, such as N95/ KN95 respirators or surgical masks, was the most effective protection from COVID-19, compared to no mask use at all, the CDC study reports.

An N95 or KN95 respirator was 83 percent effective at preventing the wearer from contracting COVID-19. A surgical mask was 66 percent effective, while a cloth mask was 56 percent effective, according to the report.

Masks are made to contain droplets and particles you breathe, cough, or sneeze out. If they fit closely to the face, they can also provide you some protection from particles spread by others, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Respirators such as a KN95 or N95 are made to protect you by filtering the air and fitting closely on the face to filter out particles, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

“In addition to being up-to-date with recommended COVID-19 vaccinations, consistently wearing a comfortable, well-fitting face mask or respirator in indoor public settings protects against acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 infection,” according to the study.

KN95 respirators are available for pickup on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus and on the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke. See the full list of locations.

At this time masking requirements remain in effect, and the Ready site will continue to be updated with current guidance related to masking. Should there be changes to the masking requirements, individuals will be able to continue protecting themselves through the use of personal protective equipment such as KN95 or similar respirators.

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