Wear masks that are comfortable and fit well for 'best' protection against Omicron, CDC says

Wear masks that are comfortable and fit well for 'best' protection against Omicron, CDC says
The CDC said that the "best" mask was one that was well-fitting and comfortable.ñaki Berasaluce/Europa Press/Getty Images
  • US mask recommendation "won't change", Rochelle Walenksy, head of the CDC, has said.
  • Prices for high-quality masks have surged as people try protect themselves against Omicron.

The best mask for protecting against COVID-19 is one that is comfortable and fits well, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said.

All Americans are encouraged to wear a "well-fitting mask" to protect themselves and stop the spread of COVID-19, Rochelle Walensky, director at the CDC, said during a White House press briefing Wednesday.

"That recommendation is not going to change," she said.

Walensky said the "best mask" is one that fits well and that people can tolerate wearing.

"The best mask that you can — that you wear is the one that you will wear and the one you can keep on all day long — that you can tolerate in public, indoor settings and tolerate where you need to wear it," she said.


Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-⁠19 Response Coordinator, said in the briefing that included multiple-layered cloth masks and medical-grade masks, such as N95s and K95s.

The Washington Post reported Monday that the CDC was considering recommending that people upgrade their masks to N95 or KN95 models to help fight the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

Those high-quality masks are most effective at blocking infectious particles, helping to limit the spread of the virus. Demand has risen since November, when Omicron started spreading in the US, triggering a surge in prices.

A pack of 40 KN95 masks from Hotodeal now costs $79.99 on Amazon, a hike from $16.99 in late November, data from price tracker camelcamelcamel shows.

Zients said White House officials were "strongly considering" options to make more high-quality masks available for all Americans, but would "continue to follow the science."


The CDC is "in the lead," he said, adding that there was a stockpile of more than 750 million N95 masks available for healthcare workers and first responders.

Walensky said that the CDC was preparing to update its website with information to help people choose the "right" mask for them.