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Editor’s Note: This article was last updated on June 22 and is being updated intermittently. The situation continues to develop rapidly. For direct reporting and to stay up-to-date on the latest CDC guidelines, visit the CDC’s website. To order cloth masks online, click here.
The Wuhan coronavirus has swept the globe, touching every continent and making its way through countries in Africa, Europe, the North and South Americas. As of June 22, the United States has more than 2.3 million cases and 120,128 deaths. Worldwide there are now more than 8.9 million countries and 468,876 deaths in countries spanning the globe from Italy to South Korea to North Africa. The worldwide pandemic has stretched medical systems thin, weakened economies, distanced people from their loved ones and taken countless lives. It’s pushed us to our limits as a human race and challenged us in ways many of us had never imagined. And yet, here we still are.
In the US we have been able to successfully slow the spread with quarantining and social distancing measures, this is good news. As many places in the US begin to enter phase II of reopening with bars, restaurants and gyms opening their doors after months of being closed, masks are more important than ever before. The CDC has given businesses guidelines for how to stay open safely including keeping customers at least six feet from one another, sanitizing and disinfecting often and requiring that patrons wear masks.
If you want to find out where to buy coronavirus safety masks, keep scrolling to find face masks that are still available for purchase online. Below, you’ll find more information on this virus and what kind of protection face masks provide.
Will a Face Mask Protect You Against the Deadly Coronavirus?
The short answer is no, a cloth face mask alone will not protect you from contracting the coronavirus nearly as well as frequent hand washing and social distancing will. However, since the outbreak initially began the advice surrounding face masks and who should wear them has radically shifted. While it won’t protect you from getting the virus, it will protect you from transmitting it, whether you’re showing symptoms or not.
COVID-19 can be spread by people without them knowing them are infected, as many people are asymptomatic carriers that won’t suffer any of the COVID-19 symptoms themselves, but can easily pass it along to other people through coughing, sneezing or even talking and breathing. COVID-19 is spread through droplets that can land in the mouths or noses, or even breathed through the lungs, of people nearby. They typically travel around six feet from the originator, so social distancing is important. Cloth face coverings, when worn properly, can add an extra layer of protection for others by blocking droplets from traveling through the air.
While some may find in uncomfortable or deem it unnecessary due to the rate of infection in their community or their proximity to hot spots where case numbers are high, wearing a mask in public is the responsible thing to do. It might do nothing, but it may save someone’s life.
How Long Will Face Masks Be Worn in Public?
It’s safe to say that face masks have become much more of a commonality in public recently in the US, and we’ve all adjusting to a new norm of not being able to see peoples’ noses and mouths. Safety masks are a ubiquitous sight in many Asian countries where it’s customary for sick individuals to wear them to protect others, and healthy people use them generally for peace of mind to ward off infection. The trend dates back to the roots of East Asian culture and Taoist beliefs surrounding “Qi” or life force. In order to protect your most sacred resource, you must avoid breathing in toxic or diseased air at all costs. Additionally, many young Asian people wear them today paired with headphones to ward off unwanted communication with others, rather than infection. Even outside of an endemic disease outbreak like the coronavirus, masks are very common in that part of the world.
In the US, masks will probably be around for a while. A viable vaccine is still 12-18 months away and many people may wear them after the fact for the sense of safety and security they provide. There are many comfortable cloth face masks being developed that are soft to the touch, machine-washable and come in fun, vibrant patterns. Many athletic wear companies are also making face masks designed for physical activities like running and cycling,
Anything Else I Need to Know?
Medical professionals are also urging individuals to take precautions against the seasonal flu, a high risk as well to the American public that is more preventable than COVID-19 at this moment in time.
Thankfully, protection against the flu is pretty straightforward. Get your flu shot if you can. Wash your hands regularly, sanitize surfaces, sleep well and reduce stress. Your immune system is by and large your best protector against anything and everything.
1. Look HUMAN Face Mask — Tiger King
Any Tiger King fans out there? Why not sport a tiger print cotton mask when you’re at the grocery store to let everyone else know that you also binged the show during quarantine. It’s made of 100% polyester, is reusable and machine-washable so you can properly sanitize between uses. Keep yourself and others healthy by placing it over your mouth, nose and over your ears with the convenient ear loops when you go outside. You can even place a medical-grade mask underneath it if you’ve got one. This same mask comes in a variety of patterns and colors from Look HUMAN.
2. Los Angeles Apparel Cotton Face Mask 3-Pack
This 3-pack from Los Angeles Apparel features three 100% cotton face masks with adjustable noses that you can contour to your unique face and two adjustable straps that fit snugly around your head and neck. Each mask is made using a thick French Terry fabric that’s lightweight and durable, machine washable and safe to dry hot.
3. Master Medical Disposable Face Mask, Pack of 50 (Amazon)
These medical face masks are lightweight, comfortable to wear and come in a large pack so you’ll have plenty to use over the course of reopening and beyond. They’re a general use mask that’s not intended for medical use so you won’t be taking supplies away from medical workers who need them. They have a 3-layer construction, elastic ear loops and can be stretched to fully cover your nose and mouth.
4. Tart Collections 100% Cotton Face Mask (Amazon)
Skip the medical route and go comfy with this cotton face mask from Tart Collections. It’s super soft and has excellent breathability as it blocks out dust, pollen, aerosol sprays and other particles floating around in the air. It’s reusable, with an outer shell and two layers of cotton sewn inside and is designed to be washed and reworn. This mask comes in a few different colors and is available with or without the USA flag patch.
5. 3M N95 Respirator Masks (LOWES)
If you work in an airport, medical office or will be traveling soon and want a mask, then the N95 respirator is the recommendation from medical experts in terms of protection. The N95 respirator filters out 95% of airborne particles when used correctly. There are a variety of such masks available for construction work, and they can be used for a variety of purposes.
Most N95 masks from the popular 3M brand are sold out, but there are a few masks in stock.
6. 3M Cool Flow N95 Respirator Masks (LOWES)
This mask from popular brand 3M is designed to avoid overheating. Designed originally for contractors working with fiberglass and sandblasting, it can be used for a variety of purposes.
7. Unisex Washable and Reusable Face Mask (Amazon)
This unisex face mask from SPRING SEAON is designed to protect against pollen, vehicle exhaust, passive smoking and other potential toxins and allergens you may encounter out and about in the world. It has a 5-layer filter built into it with activated carbon and is washable and reusable. It’s made of 100% cotton and is comfortable, soft and has excellent breathability and sweat-wicking capabilities. It has an adjustable nose and an elastic ear loop for maximum comfort and it comes with four extra carbon filters you can change in and out.
8. AstroAI Reusable Dust Face Mask (Amazon)
This activated carbon filter dust mask has a 4-layer filtration system built in that removes non-oil particles in the air including dust and is ideal for running and cycling. It has two-way discharge valves that allow you to breathe in and out effectively, and the increased ventilation allows for heat and moisture to escape, which will prevent eyeglasses from fogging up. It has a comfortable design with nose pads and a snap-on adjustable nose clip for a tight, snug fit. The flexible ear loops reduce rubbing on the back of your ears and it comes with replaceable filters that lengthen its effective time period.
9. M2 Mesh Dust/Pollution Carbon Filter Mask (Amazon)
This product contains 50 sealed surgical masks, which are held in place with two rubber loops. Each surgical mask has three layers of non-woven fabric to provide filtration while you breathe and talk.
10. Hotodeal 50-Pack Disposable Face Masks (Amazon)
These disposable face masks are 3-ply and made with PP non-woven fabric with a nose bridge, silk thread, an activated carbon cloth and elastic adjustable ear bands. The protective mask fabric filters out dust and allergens and the comfortable, breathable material is non-irritating for the skin even when worn for long periods of time. The lightweight face mask contours to the face naturally so it’s great for wearing whilst traveling, grocery shopping or walking your dog.