New Year, Updated Mask Rules

  • January 13, 2022
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It’s time to ditch single-layer cloth masks because they’re ineffective against Omicron.

What mask should I wear?

Respirators – such as N95 and KN95 masks – provide the best level of protection. The next best thing is three-layer non-medical masks. As Anthony Fauci, the US top doctor said, double masking can also increase the level of protection from COVID-19 and its variants.

The Globe and Mail writes, “N95 respirators are designed to reduce the risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles and aerosols, according to the Health Canada website. They provide 95-per-cent protection against exposure to respiratory viruses and bacteria when fit appropriately to the user’s face.”

Check out the Government of Canada’s list of authorized medical devices for uses related to COVID-19. Here you can check the government’s list of masks that meet the most current standards.

What are the three Fs for masks?

  • Filtration: how well does the mask filter aerosols/particles that may be infectious?
    • Choose a mask with the highest filtration, such as N95s, three-layer non-medical masks, or double up!
  • Fit: how well does the mask seal the user’s face so contaminated air cannot get around the gaps?
    • The World Health Organization says: “Place the mask carefully, ensuring it covers the mouth and nose, adjust to the nose bridge and tie it securely to minimize any gaps between the face and the mask. If using ear loops, ensure these do not cross over as this widens the gap between the face and the mask.”
  • Function: how comfortable is it, and how easy is it to breathe through?
    • Choose a mask that works for you. If you have trouble breathing with one style, try a different vendor. You want to pick a mask that is functional for you. This will help you will avoid touching the mask while wearing it.

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