Quick Question: What is the difference between N95 and KN95 masks?

Short answer: N95 masks are reserved for healthcare workers, and KN95 masks are available for general use.

N95 and KN95 masks, also known as respirators, are made to very similar specifications and look basically the same. The main difference is that N95 masks must be certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the U.S.A., whereas KN95 masks are certified to meet similar standards in China, and then may be licensed for use in the U.S.A. N95 masks have been reserved since the beginning of the pandemic for healthcare workers as the highest level of protection available. However, non-NIOSH-approved KN95 masks have since been licensed and authorized for use by healthcare workers, as well as use by the general population. 
KN95 masks can offer a greater level of protection against respiratory droplets carrying the COVID-19 virus than disposable surgical masks, and are widely available. For tips on how to make your cloth face covering or mask more effective, see our previous update. If you are considering purchasing KN95 masks, please be careful of counterfeits, as there are many products on the market which do not meet the elevated safety standards required for KN95 masks. Find FDA-approved manufacturers and product model numbers of KN95 masks here.

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