5 hacks and tips to make your face mask more protective

By Maria Godoy, NPR

It’s time to up your mask game.

With new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S., and transmission levels still very high in many places, some public health experts recommend that Americans upgrade from the basic cloth masks that many have been wearing during the pandemic.

“A cloth mask might be 50% effective at blocking viruses and aerosols,” says Linsey Marr, a researcher at Virginia Tech who studies airborne virus transmission. “We’re at the point now … that we need better than 50%.”

When you’re outdoors, where fresh air can quickly disperse virus droplets and smaller particles, a cloth mask is still fine, Marr says. But infectious particles can accumulate indoors, and that’s when you want a better mask. “I am now wearing my best mask to the grocery store. I wasn’t before,” Marr says.

Ideally, we would all be wearing medical-grade N95 respirators – so-called because they block out at least 95% of particles when worn correctly. But even now, N95s remain in short supply for consumers, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still says they should be reserved for health care workers. Read more …