With record infections and the new threat of a highly infectious COVID variant, doctors are advocating for superior mask protection to lower the number of infections and death.
An OPED in STAT calls for supplying Hi Fi (high filtration) masks to every household as a far cheaper alternative to the cost of the pandemic in patient lives and economic hardship.
South Korea early in the pandemic shipped large batches of Hi Fi N95 equivalents in its successful effort to flatten the curve and continues to manufacture over 100 million masks a month, now available to the US market.
Hi Fi refers to high filtration which means the ability to block the greatest number of viral sized particles.
Here’s how masks compare:
- High filtration or HiFi masks provide the highest filtration of at least 95% and the lowest level or risk of COVID infection. Hi Fi N95 masks have offered complete protection for many healthcare providers who directly treat COVID patients.
- Medium filtration masks include surgical masks with 67% filtration and triple layer cloth masks with 50+% protection.
- Low filtration includes loosely woven single layer cotton masks with as low as 5% protection.
“With the rapid spread of this COVID variant and airborne nature, the Hi Fi mask offers vital enhanced protection for the general public. This is especially true for front line workers from teachers to firemen who have not been able to obtain this high level of protection. This should have been a national priority in April and the Defense Production act invoked to supply the general public with HiFi masks rather than recommending low filtration cloth which have allowed an exceptionally high rate of infection despite masking,” said COVID Educator and former network Chief Medical correspondent Bob Arnot MD.