“Personally, I recommend going to something that’s been tested to a standard,” said Anne Miller, executive director of Project N95, a nonprofit devoted to helping health-care personnel find reliable PPE since early in the pandemic.
The N95, with straps that go around the head and improve the mask’s seal, retail at big box hardware stores like Home Depot for about $1.68 a mask, and KN95s, a Chinese version of the N95 with ear loops instead of head straps, can be as cheap as 69 cents a mask, Miller said. However, the CDC warns that some KN95 masks are counterfeit.
The economics of masks concerned Teel. “We always worry about health inequity and health disparity,” he said, “and does cost play into further health disparities?”
Surgical masks are cheaper and can be effective if used carefully — no frequent pulling them up and down, for instance — and cloth masks can be useful too, if they have multiple layers, or are doubled up. Sweet buys her masks on Etsy, she said, and looks for those with three layers, including one layer of silk or satin and one of cotton.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction