Picture Supply: Getty / Nenad Stojnev
Pointers for masks sporting have modified all through this pandemic; nevertheless, one idea has stayed the identical: sporting a masks can decelerate the unfold of COVID-19. Whereas the WHO and CDC each advise most people to depart the medical-grade masks like N95 respirators to healthcare employees, some experts worldwide are challenging that claim and advocating for premium masks use given the rising prevalence of the extra contagious COVID-19 variants. This contains the usage of KF94 masks, however what are they precisely?
What Are KF94 Masks?
KF94 masks are premium face masks made in South Korea — and Sonali Advani, MBBS, assistant professor of medication at Duke College, informed NPR that the “KF” in “KF94” stands for “Korean filter.” Based on The New York Occasions, it blocks 94 percent of viral particles (therefore the “94” in “KF94”). It has ear loops like a material face masks and is disposable. Though it may be reused, The New York Occasions experiences that it will not final so long as material masks. And, these medical-grade KF94s are literally broadly worn by the general public in Korea. The YouTube video beneath showcases placed on the KF94.
Epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, MD, ScD, an adjunct senior fellow with the Federation of American Scientists, wrote on Twitter, “Personally I find the South Korean KF94 very comfortable. The KF94 creates a much bigger hole in entrance of your mouth to talk clearly. And I generally neglect I am even sporting it as a result of it would not contact my lips or nook of my mouth.” He added that it has a folding system by your nostril and chin — what NPR describes as “facet flaps.” NPR additionally describes it as a “mash between an N95 and a typical material masks.”
What Is the Distinction Between the KF94 Masks and N95 Masks?
A KF94 is reportedly equal to the N95 respirator however extra accessible. It will not match as tightly to the face as N95 masks do — plus N95s, because the identify recommend, have 95-percent filtration as a substitute of 94. One very small examine revealed in August of 2020 concluded that the KF94 and N95 mask both efficiently blocked SARS-CoV-2 particles from spreading when COVID-19 sufferers coughed.
This examine didn’t take a look at filtration within the different course — the effectiveness of defending the wearer from viral particles coming in — although medical-grade masks are, in general, said to be the gold standard when it comes to protecting the wearer from airborne viral particles as properly. Whereas these medical-grade KF94s are being utilized by the general public in Korea, N95 masks proceed to be the go-to for healthcare professionals (observe: two nurse associates of mine put on N95s at work, considered one of whom mentioned she makes certain to put on her N95 whereas treating COVID-19 sufferers particularly).
What Is the Distinction Between KF94 and KN95 Masks?
KF94 masks have 94-percent filtration effectivity, and the opposite, KN95, is marketed has having 95-percent filtration effectivity. The KN95 is basically an N95 masks that meets the standard in China. The FDA granted, then reissued, emergency use authorization for KN95 masks within the US, however some KN95 masks were actually shown not to be as effective filtration-wise as N95 masks (so, healthcare professionals ought to solely use ones clearly approved by the FDA). As we talked about, KF94 masks have ear loops, and plenty of KN95 masks even have ear loops versus the elastic head bands of N95 masks.
Picture Supply: CelebrityPie Pictures / Sam Brodsky
The place Can I Get KF94 Masks?
Whereas Dr. Feigl-Ding mentioned he straight orders KF94 masks from South Korea, they are available on Amazon in packs. Nonetheless, be cautious of knockoffs. As he and different specialists have identified, there are counterfeit ones being bought on-line. Stephen Morse, PhD, an epidemiology professor at Columbia College, informed NPR that individuals ought to all the time stick with KF94 masks which are manufactured in Korea.
Are KF94s Higher Than Material Masks?
KF94s are higher than material masks when it comes to filtration — in spite of everything, they’re medical-grade masks — however you may nonetheless put on material masks, which proceed to be advisable for on a regular basis use within the US. “To be clear, material masks do work too, simply to lesser diploma,” Dr. Feigl-Ding mentioned, particularly in relation to filtering your personal viral particles (although there may be rising proof that even material masks can defend the wearer to a level).
Dr. Advani informed NPR, “With regards to use in day-to-day actions, total surgical masks and three-layered material masks carry out fairly properly.” So, because it stands proper now, should you’re sticking to material masks, search for multi-layered ones, and nonetheless depend on social distancing practices when round others. If you are going to buy KF94s, select properly, staying away from choices that aren’t manufactured in Korea.
CelebrityPie goals to provide the most correct and up-to-date details about the coronavirus, however particulars and suggestions about this pandemic could have modified since publication. For the newest info on COVID-19, please try sources from the WHO, CDC, and local public health departments.