We take a look at the effectiveness of various masks against COVID-19

JASPER/NEWTON COUNTIES, Mo. – Just how effective are masks against COVID-19? The answer can depend on who you ask, and more importantly, what kind of mask you get. We spoke with a couple of experts to learn more.

When it comes to the effectiveness of masks, it really depends on the type. N-95 masks, used primarily by health care workers and those on the frontlines, provide the best protection.

Surgical masks are also adequate, according to the experts we spoke with, and do provide reasonable protection.

However, the most common type of mask, only provides protection one way. Donna Stokes, Infection Preventionist at Mercy says “The mask that for example I’m wearing right now which is a cloth mask, would protect others from me, so if by chance I would have the virus, I would not be able to give it to someone that was in close proximity to me if by chance I would cough or there would be some type of respiratory secretions.”

And the more barriers there are, the better the protection. Newton County Health Administrator Larry Bergner “When you look at effectiveness, for you to wear a mask, helps protect others from the virus if you have it, if the other person is wearing a mask, then that just provides another layer of protection, so that’s why we urge people to wear masks because we’re simply trying to provide as many barriers between you and the virus as we can.”

As for when to wear your mask there’s recommendations for indoors and outdoors. Bergner says “It just depends on what setting you’re in, outside and able to distance yourself six foot apart, then, the need for a mask goes down.” Stokes says “Grocery shopping, going to the pharmacy, going to those areas where you really don’t always have control about social distancing, it gives others around you protection.”

Click here for the CDC’s website and guidance on cloth masks.