As Omicron Surges, Sanders Says Congress Must Ensure Mass Distribution of N95 Masks

By Jake Johnson. Originally published at Common Dreams

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday demanded that Congress act urgently to ensure the widespread distribution of N95 masks to U.S. households as the highly contagious Omicron variant continues to rip through the country, overwhelming already-strained hospitals nationwide.

“As we face the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, we should remember that not all face masks are created equal,” Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, wrote on Twitter. “Congress must demand the mass production and distribution of N-95 masks, the most effective way to stop the spread of the Covid virus.”

“Ideally, a set of masks would be mailed to each U.S. household every month.”

Sanders’ call comes as experts are vocally emphasizing the importance of high-quality masks in stemming the transmission of Omicron, which was first detected in southern Africa last month and has since become the dominant variant in the U.S. and other countries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that Omicron now accounts for nearly 75% of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S., which has recorded the most coronavirus deaths in the world. Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, warned Sunday that Omicron cases “likely will go much higher” in the coming days.

“Even though we’re pleased by the evidence from multiple countries that it looks like there is a lesser degree of severity, we’ve got to be careful that we don’t get complacent about that,” Fauci said in an appearance on ABC. “It might still lead to a lot of hospitalization in the United States.”

With Omicron infections spiking, public health experts have stressed that medical-grade N95 masks are easily preferable to cloth masks, which—according to University of Oxford professor Trish Greenhalgh—are often mere “fashion accessories” that don’t provide adequate protection.

Linsey Marr, a virus researcher at Virginia Tech, similarly argued in an interview with NPR last week that “cloth masks are not going to cut it with Omicron.”

“I have a lot of confidence in the vaccines, if you’re boosted, in protecting against severe outcomes, and I have a lot of confidence in an N95 and similar types of respirators,” Marr said. “And I think that with those two things, you can still go about a lot of your normal activities.”

Last week, after initially mocking the idea, the Biden administration announced a plan to distribute 500 million rapid at-home coronavirus tests to U.S. households that request them. But the federal government has yet to pursue a similar strategy with masks despite months of pleas from healthcare workers, experts, and lawmakers.

“Ideally, a set of masks would be mailed to each U.S. household every month—the costs of doing so pale in comparison to the pandemic’s toll on lives and the economy,” physicians Abraar Karan and Ranu Dhillon and patient advocate Devabhaktuni Srikrishna wrote in a January op-ed for STAT.

“The use of such masks would, in combination with other risk-reduction strategies, create safer workspaces for essential workers,” the trio argued.

In July of 2020, Sanders introduced legislation that would have required the federal government to manufacture and deliver high-quality masks to every person in the country. The bill garnered dozens of co-sponsors in the House and Senate—as well as the endorsements of a number of advocacy organizations—but has not advanced in either chamber.

While the U.S. is no longer facing the kinds of severe N95 shortages that hampered the nation’s early response to the pandemic, quality face-coverings can still be difficult to find due to the proliferation of counterfeits on Amazon and other e-commerce sites. Nonprofit groups such as Project N95 have attempted to help people navigate the morass of fakes and locate genuinely high-quality masks.

In recent days, public health experts have criticized the CDC for explicitly recommending against N95 masks for the general public in its formal guidance, which argues that such masks “should be prioritized for healthcare personnel.”

Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, told CNN last week that it has “been many months since supply of N95s [has been] an issue.”

“If we’re going to go as far as to say that masks are required—when we don’t come from a mask-wearing culture and people don’t like wearing masks—at least recommend that they wear the most effective mask,” said Wen.

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  1. Roger Blakely

    Now would be a good time to mention how N95s work. What is important is the material. The property of the material is such that the electrostatic charge is what collects the virus particles. The material does not work on pore size. When you open a pack of cigarettes, the plastic wrapper sticks to your hand. In the same way the virus particle is sticking to the fibers of the material. If the respirator is not perfect, it is not because of the material. If virus is getting through, it is because air is leaking past the wearer’s nose and cheeks. Think of static cling from laundry coming out of the drier. Static cling is a function of relative humidity. Humidity will dissipate the charge.

    The N stands for no oil mist. Oil mist dissipates the charge. It is just like fabric softener added to laundry. The fabric softener spreads an oil over the cotton fibers, and that oil dissipates the charge. Ordinary people are not in an environment with oil mist. Maybe cooks in a restaurant would need the other grades of filter that work in environments where oil mist is present.

    1. Lee

      We’ve been using the Elipse P-100 that we got some years ago for fire season in the SF bay area. They cost ~$30 with replacement filter cartridges costing about half that. They have a frame that provides an airtight seal. One downside is that they have an unfiltered exhalation port, which is good for comfort but not so for limiting the spread to others of viral particles. When the situation calls for it I address that problem by wearing a surgical mask over the P-100. Also, over longer periods of time, they are not as comfortable as the N-95.

      1. RA

        Yes, I recently bought a 3M respirator with two P100 filters (a bit better than N95). But, as you say, it has valves that let exhaled air go straight out. Good for me but not for you.

        I modified mine. There are two round white, very thin rubberish discs that are the valves for the intake from the filters. They only let air come in from the filters, blocking outbound. I carefully removed and saved them (in case I later want to go back to original). This lets the air flow both ways through the filters.

        Then I cut a piece of packing foam to tightly fit into the exhaust vent to block it. There is a valve for the exit, but with the port blocked that valve doesn’t matter.

        So now I have a P100 respirator that should pass all air through the filters in both directions. Slightly more back pressure on exhale but no big deal. Same as inhale through the two filters.

        They are comfortable and should be excellent for both me and you but a bit dramatic visually. (with or without the mods.)

      2. megrim

        When it comes to elastomeric respirators, look for ones with “source control.” It took me a while to find the correct keyword.

    2. Pate

      Thank you for this information. Question: how many times can an N-95 be used (in my case for quick trips inside a big box store)? My research has led to different answers.

      1. BeliTsari

        Some of 3-layer graphite nanofiber KN-94 seem to hold up for >15 washes. But, prepare to get Omicron, if you need to interact with mammals. Try goggles on conveyance or enclosed areas where maskless mouthbreathers pontificate at their iPhone 12. So far, this feels like a head-cold & diverticulosis, with abrupt arthritis and dementia… so let me get back down to Times Square to await the durn planet killing comet! Get a pulse-oximiter & list your meds, NOW!

      2. RA

        There was a link here recently about N95 mask lifetime. Sorry, didn’t save the link. Basically in normal use, pretty much forever. The likely limit would be the rubber bands that hold them on.

        Most of us probably would change due to facial oils or some other dirt they met up with. But (from the link) just breathing should be good for a very long time.

        1. Pate

          Thank you RA. I’ve read the same, and even that the protection increases with use. And I’ve read the opposite.
          But Roger Blakey states that protection comes not from “pore size” but “electrostatic charge”. Again, my usage is spartan ie trips to the market. Roger Blakey, please pick up the nearest courtesy phone.

    3. Kris Alman

      What’s unclear to me is how long they retain efficacy and reusability day after day. I have seen ~40 hours. Do you know?

      1. Valerie Long Tweedie

        Good question. Because of the cost and availability, it would be great if I could use mine more than once.

    4. Valerie Long Tweedie

      Roger, Thank you very much for this information. I hope it is OK but I put it on my Facebook page – giving you full credit as a commenter, here at NC. I just felt it was so informative that it was important to share. Valerie

  2. Kevin Smith

    We order our 3M N95’s from a reliable surgical supply company,
    These are pretty comfortable [wore them continuously flying back from Hawai’i to Toronto, and they are less likely to fog your glasses than a lot of other masks.

    In the airport and on the plane, the technique is: take a deep breath, pull the mask down a bit and gulp some water, put mask back up, exhale. Not a big deal once you get the hang of it. Practice at home before you fly.

    Here is the URL for the masks we wear, they come in regular [me] and small [my wife]:–9/3m-n95-mask-model-1860-regular-20-box–1

    The above is a Canadian website.
    You can probably specify this mask and order it on your local surgical supply website.

    1. Oh

      Thanks! That’s useful information. Masks are the most important aspect of protecting oneself including maintaining social distance, minimizing stays in crowded places, and not venturing into poorly ventilated areas.

    2. Jay-Ottawa

      At Surgo (and a handful of other distributors I’ve checked so far) you must first set up an account. OK. Then you try to select the item, order and pay. Each site has its little frustrations in maneuvering through these steps. You might get to see what’s in your market basket but are blocked from advancing to the entry of mailing address and credit card, at which time you are informed that the item is out of stock.

  3. Dave in Austin

    I second Roger Blakley’s explaination.

    Many people I know working in labs swear by the Korean KN 94 masks; same material but a better fit because of the design and greater surface area so less problem breathing. I no longer trust Amazon for masks so I get mine at the local Korean grocery store which has Korean-American shoppers who would get seriously angry if the masks were found to be fakes. I use the simple cloth masks for most uses but in any enclosed space I use the Korean masks.

    If I’m in a space which might expose me to Covid, when I get home I sniff some of the rubbing alcohol, gargle and wash my hands and face.

    Also, somewhere between 70-85% of people with Covid lose the sense of smell by the second day. The increase in temperature happens on the 4th-6th day as the immune system ramps up. So every morning I open my rubbing alcohol bottle, dip a Q-tip in and give it a smell in both nostrils. So far I smell; if I didn’t I get a two-three day head start on treatment and self-quarantine.

    A layered defense is the only defense.

  4. Tom Stone

    I watched parts of several superspreader events put on by the NFL over the weekend and there were very few masks being worn by spectators.
    Last Christmas my Lib friends were ecstatic that the bad orange man had been banished, the Adults were going to take charge!
    Rational, competent, liberal adults who knew how to reach across the aisle and “Git ‘er done”.
    They were going to “Follow the Science” to deal with Covid, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, forgive student loan debt and $2,000 checks would be out the door instantly!
    Just for a start.
    America would have a REAL LEADER,maybe even a new FDR in ….Joe Biden.
    Good times.,good times.

    1. Lee

      I’m so old I remember when vaccines were going to set us free.

      Meanwhile, Democrats are wringing their hands over the possibility of future coups as if that “coup” were not already electorally baked in back in 2010 through mostly legal means. Wall Street’s lapdog is hardly convincing as democracy’s watchdog.

      1. Michaelmas

        as if that “coup” were not already electorally baked in back in 2010 through mostly legal means. Wall Street’s lapdog is hardly convincing as democracy’s watchdog.

        Thank you. In 2008 it was obvious that knifing the US population in the back would have irrevocable consequences; to follow that after 2016 with the four year Russiagate disinformation campaign and then complain about disinformation was the quintessence of arrogance and stupidity.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’ve been to a few football games at my alma mater, fortunately lightly attended, whileI was masked, but no one in Charlottesville was masked. It was crazy. The football team had to cancel it’s bowl game despite the vaccine requirement due to an outbreak.

      In fairness, we haven’t heard Biden whine about Presidenting being hard work. It’s kind of refreshing. Psaki’s griping about providing free testing was getting there, but she’s always been awful.

      1. Starry Gordon

        The fact that people are outdoors when attending many football games should be an important mitigating factor. That would not apply to the players, who are directly in contact with one another and are often breathing deeply if not almost violently to gather the oxygen necessary to run around with all that crap they have to carry.

        If, in spite of being outdoors, the audience is nevertheless surrounded by clouds of contagion for several hours, I doubt that masks will help them very much. My opinion is based on experience: I am allergic to some pollens and get ‘rose fever’ and the spring and ‘hay fever’ in the fall (both misnamed). Wearing a mask over the last two years has not mitigated my experience at all; in fact (I assume because my immune system was riled up by vaccination, as it is supposed to be) the allergies were worse. Maybe all the masks I have are counterfeit, of course — one of the glorious accomplishments of capitalism. I don’t disdain them but I am aware of their important limitations. I will raid the supermarket, but I will not get on an airplane or sit in a closed office. I remain convinced that ventilation rules. You can’t beat moving the stuff away from you.

  5. Louis Fyne

    my local hardware Mega-Lo Mart has 20-packs of brand name N95 for $18. the local Asian grocery store has KF94 (Korea v. KN 95, PRC) masks for $1/each.

    No need to wait for for government to get its act together

    plenty of mask supply (unless you want to mail some to every household).

    1. Pate

      Yes, I recently purchased 3M N95’s (Aura and 8201) from the Home Despot. In prior times (as Lee says “back when vaccines were going to set us free”) they were not available. At about the same cost that you report.

  6. LowellHighlander

    Dozens of co-sponsors in Congress yet no advancement of this legislation???

    I got a couple of ideas to incentivize Congress to pass this legislation forthwith. First, pile up the cadavers in the Senate and House Office Buildings. Second, call this legislation something like “Protecting Americans from a Terrorist Virus”.

    Do my ideas sound “extreme”? Well, the fact that the USA is #1 in recorded deaths from this virus is even more extreme.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Republicans love bodies in the street, and Democrats get offended people don’t have the decency to die out of sight. They don’t care about hypocrisy. They fear being the targets of boycotts and losing in wave years when they can’t slither to a new job and might have to go back to their district.

      Psaki’s girl boss moment of ridiculing the idea of free testing is a perfect example. She can’t even blame the GOP. It’s representative of the attitude I ascribe to Team Blue. She and her ilk don’t want to work. They want to be part of Hollywood for ugly people. She should have been fired.

  7. HH

    Current 7-day average daily COVID deaths in selected countries:

    Israel: 1
    Taiwan: 0
    New Zealand: 0
    Japan: 1
    Australia: 7
    Sweden: 5
    Norway: 8
    Canada: 14
    US: 1,300

    1. Louis Fyne

      most of those countries have strict border controls.

      So strict that, given the politics of the US, the same level of border control will never happen in the US.

      Just saying.

  8. BeliTsari

    Again, as in 2020; Federal, State and local “elected officials” are simply sacrificing poor workers, kids, teachers, healthcare, transit, 1099 gig-serfs; along with those unvaxxed & vaxxed, with breakthrough, PASC or autoimmune symptoms, cytokine storm or compromised immune systems. Let ‘er RIP, is a policy Cuomo, Trump & de Blasio tried that only really worked for our ACTUAL pandemic (along with the virus, Catastrophe Capitalism’s using, again?)

  9. jim truti

    N95 masks work.
    The problem is keeping them properly fit for longer than 30min.
    Its not the most pleasant experience.
    I cant see many people keeping it on for hours, but the N95 do a great job for shopping and accessing other crowded or closed spaces for a limited period of time.
    I wish we had focused more on the masks since the beginning of this pandemic.

  10. ChrisRUEcon

    There’s no such thing as society “a federal capability to deal with this” …

    Biden: “Look … there is no federal solution. This gets solved at a state level.” (via Twitter)

    America the federally impotent is one hell of a sentiment to bring into 2022, a mid-term election year.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Apparently Biden is trying to be a kinder gentler Trump in order to pre-empt some of the Trump vote in 2024.

  11. lordkoos

    I just got back from a shopping trip going to a few different places in our little town (population around 15,000) and many people either aren’t wearing masks or wear them below the nose. It doesn’t matter how effective the masks are if people refuse them, around here I’d guess 20-25% of people won’t use a mask.

  12. Scott1

    Defense & education are the duties of any government. Democracies have tended to identify what goals lead to an ability to defend their people and even when you have great conflict with the treatment of migrants by liberals it is better to defend all people within your borders than only protect citizens.
    The CDC ought be a part of the DOD. There seems to be some kind of stupidity at work that does not leap to a wholistic definition of what Defense is.
    You provide to your soldiers weapons so that they can defend from other soldiers invading or attempting to erase your borders.
    Sanders is correct in advocating for citizens at the least to be provided masks that will be effective. Otherwise are we to advocate DOD budgets provide masks to us all on the basis of them as tools like rifles of defense.?

  13. AlexS

    These threads are always extra hilarious. So – has omicron changed anything from a mask perspective? It is the same size virion… same aerosol characteristics, same ability to pass through mask fibers, same ability to flow out the sides and edges because your mask is not really sealed. Plenty of videos on YT of people vaping in KN95s and lo and behold – smoke does escape out. I can post links if you want. Germany created a pretty good A/B experiment – Berlin and Bavaria had a n95 mandate since late Jan of this year. The daily cases per 100k of pop graphs of Berlin/Bavaria vs the rest of Germany don’t show any visible improvements. I can also post links if required.

    So why then this undying obsession with xN95s? Asking for a friend.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, one of us is right. Either we are right or you are. Which one is it?

      Let Darwin decide.

      1. Jeff

        Compare states with mask mandates and compliance to those with neither. Last time I checked, there was not much difference between the 2.

        Darwin? Nah. Data? Yeah.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          Not sure where you checked … but NC has been posting various studies over the course of the pandemic that have supported the belief that mask policies do reduce case and death numbers. Here are two of them:

          Mask Mandates and Other Lockdown Policies Reduced the Spread of Covid-19 in the US (via NC, July 2020)

          Mask Mandates Save Lives (via NC, September 2021)

          #YMMV depending on what you consider “much difference”; but the studies above determined decreases to range from a low end of a third (33%) to as much as 50%.

      2. Jeff

        Maybe wear a mask if you’re coughing, sneezing, etc. Like people in Asian countries have been doing well before COVID-19

      3. AlexS

        Sounds good. I am also not fat and in good health and I run 50 miles a week (without a mask, which according to many posters here is only a quasi-good idea). You should try it too.

    2. rjs

      so, doctors should be seeing patients without any masking at all, since they “don’t show any visible improvements” over naked faces, right?

      perhaps you should be asking why do doctors have this undying obsession with xN95s?

    3. Basil Pesto

      K/N95s were also important for delta. Nobody cared then, though, because of vax, vax, vax.

      So – has omicron changed anything from a mask perspective? It is the same size virion… same aerosol characteristics, same ability to pass through mask fibers, same ability to flow out the sides and edges because your mask is not really sealed.

      K/N95s became more important for the general population with delta due to the considerable jump in transmissibility, by dint of the increased viral load, thereby increasing the likelihood of infection. It’s very simple. With Delta, more aerosols were more likely to carry more of the pathogen, increasing the chances of infection.

      There is plenty of actual research beyond unlinked YouTube videos establishing the increased efficacy of K/N95 masks. Moreover, K/N95 material reduces likelihood of aerosol passing through mask material not just by the nature of the textile, but due to its electrostatic charge.

      There was no KN95/FFP2 mandate in Berlin. Surgical masks were allowed. The state did not supply said masks as Sanders is suggesting here, though vouchers were given out for over-60s to obtain FFP2 masks. Haven’t checked Bavaria but you’re clearly not posting in good faith so I can’t be bothered.

      Good on you for pursuing token edgelord points, though.

      1. AlexS

        Edgelord? When you have to resort to Reddit style insults, you know that your points are weak. Here’s a Bavaria link for you –

        So – did it help them do better vs Omicron vs the rest of Germany? Curious minds are just itching to know. Again, masks are not some harmless precaution – they are alienating and isolating symbols of fear and abnormality that break human contact and communication.

        You do sit down in restaurants to eat, right? Sans the mask, right? You have some kids of your own or your relatives/friends kids in daycare? I am sure you love the fact that they wear masks during activities, but guess what – they take them off during naps.

        It’s a pure health/security theater. Like the TSA.

  14. Jeff

    I live in LA burbs, an area with high levels of masking compliance. Just went to Arizona for a few days, an area with what seemed to be roughly 20% of the people masking.

    If masks prevent/slow the spread, would we not see dramatically higher instances of infection, sickness, hospitalizations and death in AZ? Does the fact that we don’t see that occurring signal that our assumptions about masks are incomplete, misunderstood or just plain wrong?

    Anecdata isn’t data but it’s not nothing either.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      I believe the data you’re looking for is [Cases|Deaths]/[Total|Week] normalized for population (density). California is indeed below Arizona on both counts. I’ll leave you to the graph clicking exercise here (via 91-DIVOC).

      Also, as has been pointed out in recent comments across various other threads, masking doesn’t help if you’re not wearing them correctly, or taking them off indoors to eat/drink/speak in close quarters or in poorly ventilated areas.

    2. Basil Pesto

      Does the fact that we don’t see that occurring signal that our assumptions about masks are incomplete, misunderstood or just plain wrong?

      Anecdata isn’t data but it’s not nothing either.

      No, and your anecdata is nothing if you don’t know how to interpret it. There is by now enough evidence of high quality to conclude that masks in general are effective on first principles, and that K/N95/P2 respirator masks are superior performers to the extent that they should be the protective minimum. You may also be conflating “masks” with “respirators” of the type discussed in this article (N95) .

      1. AlexS

        Mind pointing to the said high quality data? Would any of it be in the form of a RCT? As opposed to an observational “mannequin sneeze” study on masks that sets out to prove X and shockingly ends up doing just that?

  15. Geoff

    Alex, if you don’t want to wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. Really no need to go on and on about it to justify your choice.
    You lost me when you referenced YouTube videos showing people vaping through K95 masks.

    1. AlexS

      Not justifying anything. Just don’t pressure politicians into forcing everyone else to wear them – despite zero real life evidence of mask mandates making any difference. If you feel like wearing a respirator – by all means, it is still a free country (well kinda, sorta).

      Enjoy –

      1. Basil Pesto

        That isn’t evidence, it’s axe-grinding pseudo-edutainment.

        There was one RCT in Bangladesh on normal masks pre-delta which found benefit. RCTs are very hard to conduct with masks as I’m sure you understand. Fortunately RCTs are merely one form of evidence and not the be all and end all of medical science epistemology.

        Further evidence:

        I can find no other plausible explanation for the elimination of wild type covid from Melbourne/Victoria during its 2020 surge here than the implementation of a mask mandate on top of other measures being taken at the time (lockdown alone wasn’t reducing the R0). This is described here. The evidence in that study for assessing mask compliance in Melbourne is a bit silly – looking at photos of civilians in newspapers – but the researchers didn’t have much more available to them. Nevertheless I live in Melbourne and mask uptake was good at the time across the population. This early form of Covid was eliminated, and life returned more or less to normal.

        Uptake in Melbourne diminished at the time of the 2021 mandate because of the promise of vaccines and the mistaken belief that vaccinees couldn’t carry or transmit the virus. This was particularly fraught because delta is more transmissible than wild type, increasing likelihood of infection, and therefore necessitating the need for improved masking, that is, K/N95/P2 (consult
        table in CIDRAP link above). Instead, masking became a lot more lackadaisical. From this it’s clear that the existence of a mandate alone is not enough; the importance of masking must be explained, as must the mechanics of transmission, in order to improve masking technique. This could be fairly easily done, particularly if the masks were being distributed gratis to the public, per Sanders. Just chuck in an information leaflet.

        As to:

        Again, masks are not some harmless precaution – they are alienating and isolating symbols of fear and abnormality that break human contact and communication.

        This is verbal diarrhoea. They’re just words. Look, anyone can bullshit and propagandise in this way:

        Masks are a stirring symbol of good health and communal solidarity, mutual beneficence and love in the face of a common threat

        The reality is far more straightforward: wearing masks/respirators sucks, but they help.

        If you want to convincingly rationalise your acting like a spoilt child, you might want to try a bit harder. I can’t imagine many people being persuaded by your tripe and not seeing that you’re being obtuse. But then, those people might not run 50 miles a week.

  16. djrichard

    Highly recommend the bellus 3d mask fitter

    I just use cheap surgical masks with it. If the Fed Gov doesn’t want people using N95s or better, the Fed Gov should be funding something like this.

    Some tweaks I’ve done to make it more comfortable.
    – Attach a neck strap, so that my neck is providing the bulk of the tension against my face rather than my ears.
    – Flip the top and bottom of the surgical mask over the plastic bellus frame, to make for less surface area touching my face. Makes it cooler during the summer months.

  17. Maui Surfer

    I have been using 3M N95 masks.
    BUT I would prefer wearing ear loops
    and there seem to be no N95 masks with earloops.
    So I am considering chinese KN95, korean KF94
    and euro FFP2, all of which can be found with earloops.
    Unfortunately, most KN95 and KF94 masks seem to
    be smaller in size.
    Recommendations appreciated.

    1. Yves Smith

      I hate to tell you but you are kidding yourself with ear loops.

      N/KN95s require a tight seal to the face to deliver the sought-after protection. Even with some N95s with straps over the head, I have a gap under my chin, which means I can still breathe infected air. I have to wear a procedure mask underneath to block the gap.

      I’ve never found any mask with ear loops that doesn’t wind up producing gaps.

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