Frequently Asked Questions about Mask Usage

Face masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19 when worn consistently and correctly. Here are considerations to help you choose a mask and ensure you get the best protection from it:

  • Filtration. While all masks provide some level of protection, properly fitted high filtration masks such as N95s, KN95s, and KF94s offer the best protection. In the absence of a high filtration mask, you can improve the protection of your mask by wearing two masks. An example of this could be that you wear a cloth mask over a disposable mask.

  • Fit. A mask may be less effective if it is not the right size for you, worn improperly, or taken off frequently. Ensure that your mask is the right size to provide a tight seal on your face. If you have facial hair, you may need a larger mask to ensure that you have a secure fit. Masks should fit snugly over your nose and mouth with no gaps. Fit can be improved by combining a cloth mask or disposable mask with a fitter or brace at the nose, knotting and tucking ear loops of your mask, or wearing a mask that is secured behind the head instead of secured with ear loops.

  • Comfort. Some masks are more protective than others, and some are more comfortable than others. High filtration masks, such as N95s, KN95s, and KF94s are recommended. You can get the best protection against COVID-19 by consistently wearing the most protective mask that fits you well.

Added November 9, 2023 

Messaging Resources about Mask Usage

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Misinformation Alerts about Mask Usage

False claims about mask effectiveness continue to circulate

A White House email that unintentionally contained outdated mask guidelines has sparked conversations about the effectiveness of wearing masks to protect against COVID-19. The email about an upcoming event at the White House stated that unvaccinated individuals are required to wear masks and socially distance at the event. Right-wing commentators referred to mask requirements as

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Viral article accuses the government of lying about mask effectiveness

A right-wing newspaper published an article claiming that the U.S. government lied about the effectiveness of masks. This claim is partially based on a recent meta-analysis of mask studies, which found that masks “probably make little or no difference” with respect to COVID-19. Recommendation: Medium Risk

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Posts blame masks, COVID-19 mitigations for respiratory disease “tripledemic”

Several popular social media accounts are promoting the idea that mask mandates and other COVID-19 protections are responsible for the “tripledemic,” the current wave of flu, COVID-19, and RSV infections that are overwhelming U.S. hospitals. One post claims that wearing masks weakened children’s immune systems by preventing exposure to germs, making them more susceptible to

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