How often can you safely reuse your KN95 or N95 mask?


Surging coronavirus cases in the United States, driven by the highly contagious omicron variant, have prompted renewed recommendations from health experts that the public should consider wearing more protective face coverings, such as N95 or KN95 masks.

President Biden also said his administration is working on making such higher-quality masks more widely available.

“Next week, we’ll announce how we are making high-quality masks available to the American people for free,” Biden said Thursday. “I know we all wish that we could finally be done with wearing masks. I get it. But they are a really important tool to stop the spread, especially of the highly transmittable omicron variant.”

The administration noted this week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “recommends Americans wear a well-fitting mask.” Biden acknowledged Thursday that “for some Americans, the mask is not always affordable or convenient to get.”

Finding reliable masks online can be tricky. Here are tips that can help.

Health experts say while there are no hard and fast rules, there are best practices for safely getting multiple uses out of N95s or KN95s.

On Jan. 13, President Biden said his administration will announce a plan to make “high-quality masks available to American people for free." (Video: The Washington Post)

Masks and covid-19: Explaining the latest guidance

Coronavirus: What you need to know

End of the public health emergency: The Biden administration ended the public health emergency for the coronavirus pandemic on May 11, just days after WHO said it would no longer classify the coronavirus pandemic as a public health emergency. Here’s what the end of the covid public health emergency means for you.

Tracking covid cases, deaths: Covid-19 was the fourth leading cause of death in the United States last year with covid deaths dropping 47 percent between 2021 and 2022. See the latest covid numbers in the U.S. and across the world.

The latest on coronavirus boosters: The FDA cleared the way for people who are at least 65 or immune-compromised to receive a second updated booster shot for the coronavirus. Here’s who should get the second covid booster and when.

New covid variant: A new coronavirus subvariant, XBB. 1.16, has been designated as a “variant under monitoring” by the World Health Organization. The latest omicron offshoot is particularly prevalent in India. Here’s what you need to know about Arcturus.

Would we shut down again? What will the United States do the next time a deadly virus comes knocking on the door?

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