The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday updated its guidance on masks for the general public, now saying that people "may choose" to wear N95 and KN95 masks because they offer the best protection against COVID-19.
But the agency stopped short of saying that people should opt for certain masks instead of others, saying that the "CDC continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently."
Previously, the CDC did not recommend that the general population wear N95 masks or KN95s, a similar type of mask made in China, fearing that a run on those higher-quality masks would impact the supply in health care settings. The CDC now says shortages are no longer a concern.
"When worn consistently and properly," the agency wrote on its website, N95 respirators approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, "provide the highest level of protection from particles, including the virus that causes COVID-19."