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California Department of Public Health Recommends Opting Out Of Cloth Masks

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The California Department of Public Health says cloth masks should be opted out instead for surgical masks or higher-level respirators, like N95 masks. 

The California Department of Public Health recommends avoiding a cloth mask, and instead using a surgical mask or higher-level respirators instead. Governor Newsom implemented a month-long mandatory indoor mask order beginning December 15 and running through January 15. Newsom gave the order as the state saw a significant rise in COVID-19 cases, despite the fact that Californians continue to get their vaccine and booster shots. The order also cited concern with the growing number of cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19. The state recommends wearing a surgical mask, either by itself or in conjunction with a cloth mask, or wearing a N95, KN95 or KF94 mask.

According to the CDC, N95 respirators, usually worn by health care workers and first responders, can filter up to 95% of air droplets and particles. “It’s not just with Omicron that we need better masks, it was with Delta, it was with Alpha before that,” says Leana Wen, MD, emergency doctor and public health professor at George Washington University.. “We have known for many months that COVID-19 is airborne, and therefore, a simple cloth mask is not going to cut it.”

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