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PSA: Get a better mask! Where to buy authentic N95 and KN95 masks cheap

Make sure yours can do this

The other day I went back to the Roosh V forums to see if the COVID-infected former PUA-turned-fanatical-Christian was doing any better, and it turns out he is.

But I was struck by how many of his followers also have or have had COVID. Which upon reflection isn’t a surprise, as they are generally as fanatically against vaccines and masks as Roosh is — and for what it’s worth virtually all of them are still against vaccines and masks.

I don’t want this happening to any of you. I assume you’re all vaccinated already, right? And that you wear masks in all appropriate situations.

But how good are your masks? They may not be as effective as they could be.

And so I’m taking a moment away from the regular topics of this blog to try to nag you a little and get you to upgrade your cloth or surgical mask to a more effective N95 or KN95 mask, if you haven’t already. You owe it to yourself (and to the rest of us) to upgrade, as explained in detail in this extremely useful Scientific American article.

So where can you go to find real N95 and KN95 masks? If you try Amazon marketplace or some other anonymous seller, there’s a good chance that what you get will be counterfeit.

Scientific American lists a couple of legit sellers. I just bought a ten pack of KN95 masks from Bona Fide Masks, on sale for less than ten bucks. Shipping was quick.

I know I sound like I’m shilling here but I have no connection to that site and I don’t get any kickbacks for suggesting it. I honestly just want you all to be safer.

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15 replies on “PSA: Get a better mask! Where to buy authentic N95 and KN95 masks cheap”

Thanks for this.

I’ve been using disposable surgical masks from CVS, but it’s been increasingly hard to find them in adult sizes. But one of my friends recently showed me a box of KN95s she’d gotten at Staples… I should see if the one nearby has them. Or the Target over in the opposite direction.

I’ve only seen surgical type masks for sale in any of the shops I frequent here (so, grocery shops and pharmacies basically). I’ve seen cloth and N95 masks being worn though …

You mean his fake Covid got fakely better once his PayPal got fatter?

Thanks for the link, David. I just paid $8.71.

And they’re white! All the masks I have but one are black.

I got a bunch of disposables that I wear under the cloth for extra protection, and also because I like to represent with the band logos I have on them.

I also have a couple of double-layer cloth masks that have a pocket, which I stuff with KN95 filters. I got them really early in the pandemic and stuffed them with two coffee filters. Figured that ought to work.

Just make sure you don’t use a mask which has an exhalation valve!

The biggest problem with all masks is getting a good fit. The nose wires don’t do it for me. I’ve tried using double-sided tape (“wig tape”), with mixed results.

I’m surprised that the CDC only recently rescinded the recommendation for the general public to avoid N95s. In Finland we had a similar recommendation regarding FPP2s in spring 2020, though back then masking wasn’t yet seriously recommended anyway and most people didn’t wear masks. At the time FPP2s and even FPP1s were practically not available to the public, and there was even potential shortage of surgical masks.

Mask use has only been really common and seriously recommended here for about a year now. During this time, FFP2s have become increasingly available in stores, and I see people increasingly using them – though still not that many compared to people who use surgical or cloth masks. There’s a new type of FPP2 on the market that’s cheaper and looks more lightly built (and slightly more street fashionable) than the ones I saw in hardware stores before the pandemic. It also has ear loops for fastening, which is much more convenient than the traditional elastic straps round the head. However, I suspect ear-based fastening isn’t practically speaking tight enough to make a good use of the FPP2 filtering ability.

Quote from the SA article:

Not all experts agree that high-filtration masks are necessary for everyone. “What I usually say is ‘The best mask is the one you wear properly,’” says Judith Flores, a pediatrician and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and of the New York Academy of Medicine. Flores believes surgical masks are the most convenient and cleanest option if they are discarded after each use.

I also have this hunch that there needs to be more emphasis on advising people to wear their masks properly, and to choose a mask that’s easy to wear properly (rather than one that’s really effective if used optimally). When I go out, I see a lot of people wearing poorly fitted surgical (and sometimes FPP2) masks, so that any filtration ability beyond spray cover is irrelevant. Usually people do manage to cover both their mouth and nose, as per official guidance, but that’s a pretty low bar.

I think one major usability factor for most people is that the mask needs to be disposable and still fairly cheap to use daily. Surgical masks are much cheaper than FPPs, and also use less material. FPPs can be reused several times, but they can’t be washed, so you’d need to constantly juggle the masks around, trying to avoid surface contamination, instead of just tossing them into the laundry bin. I doubt many people can/want to do that on the side of their new normal everyday lives.

Just make sure you don’t use a mask which has an exhalation valve!

I’d think those are pretty good for protecting yourself, and thus also useful for curbing the pandemic/protecting others, if you wear them properly. Also, I don’t see why they wouldn’t function as a spray cover to protect others directly.


Aerosols. IIRC they’d be much less effective preventing aerosol transmission from you to other people.

(But also I’m not an infectious disease expert. YMMV.)

Always remember to contact the wordpress abuse and if a blog violates the terms, it will get taken down. It’s worked for two blocs so far one called eradication and another called erudite night.

On another note, I just saw a great feminist movie called Ms 45. Very SCUM manifesto influenced and a parody before anyone says I take glee in butchering men. Triggers for guns and an almost cannibal seen.

I reckon basically anything is probably as good as or better than some flimsy single-layer cloth mask or a poorly worn mask. Sure, a valve mask doesn’t stop outgoing aerosols or probably even most droplets, but I think good protection for the wearer is also something that ultimately protects others. I occasionally see valve masks being dissed on social media as entirely useless, and I think that’s somewhat unfair, lacks nuance etc.

The last time I saw anyone wearing a valve mask was a construction worker who was attempting to enter a medical facility wearing it and was confused as to why he was stopped and given a disposable. Someone had to be fetched who habla Espanol to explain aerosols getting out from him to the environment, at which point he understood.

That was over a year ago.

I second the recommendation for Bona Fide Masks. We’ve bought from them twice, and they’re great to work with. The masks lasted longer than I thought they would.

I prefer N95s if I can get them. I’ve never been able to get a proper seal with KN95s for some reason, and the ear loops make me look like Howdy Doody if I don’t use those velcro head straps. Also, KN95s aren’t approved for use in medical settings in the US. We were all required to wear them at my work until the powers that be found that out. Do what works best for you, tho. Any mask is better than none at all.

My masks arrived Thursday, after David posted this and I ordered on Saturday — with a no-mail Monday in there — so I certainly approve of their prompt service! Coast to coast in so few days.

N95s still should go to health care workers, I think, and of course they cost a lot more. I figure the KN95 is fine for when I go to the store and such.

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