Not Only Are N95 Masks Ineffective Against COVID-19, They Are Inefficient

Even if the clinical data showed significant impact of N95 masks on infectious respiratory disease (it doesn’t), a masking strategy using N95 masks as a public health mitigation against COVID-19 is still unworkable. The masks are simply neither designed nor intended for extended wear:

The amount of time a mask is worn is more important than how frequently it’s worn, says Richard Flagan, who studies masks and aerosols at the California Institute of Technology.

In general, he recommends limiting the use of an N95 mask to about two or three days.

Unlike cloth, N95 masks cannot be cleaned and reused. They are used, used up, and discarded.

Even at a replacement rate of 1 every 2-3 days, one person would need roughly 10 masks each and every month. A family of four would need 40. A nation of 330 million would need over 3 billion masks each month, every month. None of which could be recycled or reused.

Medical supply chains are not geared for that volume, even without pandemic induced bottlenecks and shortages.