Mask up! How to choose and maintain the best masks for use against COVID-19 [Updated]

Smiling eyes of a handsome young man in times of Covid 19

Enlarge (credit: Hello Africa / Getty)

It’s now been a full year since many Americans first entered lockdown for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, we’ve hit milestones both grave and hopeful. Still, masking is as important as ever: the CDC recently released new studies to support guidance on double-masking and further pleas to continue to wear masks, even for those who have been vaccinated.

So as the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to live on and evolve, so too does our guide to choosing and maintaining face masks. The same basic science still applies, as do the recommendations from the WHO and CDC. Changes in manufacturing, product availability, and newer, CDC-backed solutions have informed our latest updates.

While there’s little debate as to the efficacy of masks at this point, public discourse is turning more towards “How much longer?” That answer isn’t yet clear, but making sure you have an effective mask is a crucial part of materializing, and perhaps for some, living in the “After Times.”

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