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N95 face masks offer better protection against COVID than cloth ones, the CDC says | Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times

The US government will make 400 million N95 face masks available for free at pharmacies and health centers, sourcing them from the Strategic National Stockpile, the White House tweeted on Wednesday.

The announcement comes not long after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged that the cloth masks worn by most people don’t provide as much prevention of coronavirus transmission as N95 masks or KN95 masks, the international equivalent. Some health experts have argued that the cloth masks are particularly ineffective against the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 that has pushed infection rates higher in recent weeks.

N95 masks are made with several layers of material that have better filtration than…

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