N95, KN95 masks offer best protection against COVID-19, CDC says

High-quality N95 and K95 face masks provide the best protection against COVID-19 infection, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released Friday.

Driving the news: N95 and KN95 masks worn in indoor public settings reduced the chance COVID-19 infection by 83%, while surgical masks cut the risk of infection by 66%, according to the report.

  • “These data from real-world settings reinforce the importance of consistently wearing face masks or respirators to reduce the risk of acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 infection among the general public in indoor community settings,” the CDC said.
  • While K95 and N95 masks provide the best protection, wearing any kind of mask indoors is still more protective than not wearing a mask at all, the agency said.

Between the lines: The research, which surveyed 652 people who had recently tested positive for the virus and matched them with 1,176 who had tested negative, was conducted by the California Department of Public Health between Feb. 18 to Dec. 1, 2021

  • During the last three months of the survey, respondents were asked to record what type of mask they wore.

Go deeper: Why we need to wear better masks