Expert: Masks still offer some COVID-19 protection, even if you’re the only one wearing them

Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 1:26 PM EDT
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(CNN) - With the Biden administration’s mask requirement for major public transportation no longer in effect, some might be wondering: Will I still be protected if I’m the only one wearing a mask? The answer may surprise you.

As airlines, trains and various bus companies have announced they will no longer require passengers or crew members to wear masks, some people responded with relief, others with slight panic.

According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, one-way masking still has benefits.

“It does depend to some extent on what kind of mask you’re using,” he said.

As has been heard throughout the pandemic, cloth and surgical masks don’t offer as much protection for the wearer as others, “whereas if you look at these high filtration masks and N95, KN95 masks, these are very good masks,” Gupta said. “I mean, they have significant filtration. They have electrostatic fibers that really helped sort of screen out the virus, but they’re not perfect.”

Gupta said it also depends on the ventilation where you are.

“Airplanes are probably one of the safest places because of the high air exchange rates, and we haven’t seen significant outbreaks on airplanes,” he said.

And of course, the more transmissible the virus, the greater the chances are of you getting infected.

So while one-way masking isn’t as effective in protecting from COVID-19, wearing one can still be a very good mitigation measure, especially if you are also vaccinated and boosted.

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