SALEM, Va. – With new COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates shattering pandemic records, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering updating its mask guidance, which would recommend that Americans use higher quality options like N95s or KN95s, according to NBC News.
“They are not very effective at most of the respiratory viruses let alone COVID-19,” said Dr. Muddasar Chaudry, Director of Infectious Disease at LewisGale Medical Center. “It’s the makeup of the mask. It’s supposed to filter out at least 95% or more of anything that comes through the air.”
WSLS 10 went to several local retailers to see if any of these masks are on store shelves. While every store had a full stuck of the lower grade masks, some Walmart and Lowe’s had a limited supply on the display. Home Depot had the largest supply we could find.
A 10-pack of 3M N95 masks was around $20 at Home Depot. A five-pack of KN95 masks was also around $20 at Lowe’s.
“You have to understand a lot of those masks that are being sold with the letter KN95, societies have warned over half of them in the United States are counterfeit,” stated Chaudry.
Most PPE scammers target you online, says the Better Business Bureau.
They suggest you ask yourself these questions: Does this company seem legitimate? Is there contact information on the website? Is there a customer service line and does it work? Do they have a physical address?
The BBB also suggests using a credit card when making online purchases.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, says “any mask is better than no mask,” but emphasizes the importance of it being well-fitted.