Multiple studies show that the best masks in order of effectiveness are:
- A well-fitting N95 mask (fits snugly to face with no gaps between your skin and the mask)
- A well-fitting KN95 (fits snugly to face with no gaps between your skin and the mask)
- An N95 mask (fits snugly to face, but not specifically fitted to wearer)
- A KN95 mask (fits snugly to face, but not specifically fitted to wearer)
- A surgical mask
- A cloth mask
Because not all masks provide the same level of protection, there are several things to think about like:
- How good is the fit? If air is leaking in or out, that means COVID carrying droplets can leak in and out.
- How likely am I to wear the mask? The best mask for you is the one that offers the most protection AND that you’ll wear.
The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) released a study comparing the time it takes for COVID-19 to transmit through different kinds of masks when standing 6 feet apart.
The CDC has also published some helpful hacks like double masking and “knotting & tucking” to increase the efficiency of some disposable masks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzTAZDsNBe0&t=54s
https://www.verywellhealth.com/double-mask-knotting-loops-cdc-5113148 (Verywell Health/CDC)