Why wearing a mask is important
Feb 9, 2021

As the world continues to fight COVID-19, proper use of face coverings is one of the most important things you can do to help control the spread of the virus.  

According to the U.S. CDC, wearing a reusable cloth face mask or a disposable face mask, along with physical distancing and hand washing, can help slow the spread of airborne viruses. When wearing a mask, you play a role in helping protect others in your community by reducing the likelihood of spreading germs.

CDC guide to masks

The CDC recommends members of the public choose a mask that has two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric, completely covers both the nose and mouth, fits snugly and doesn’t have an exhalation valve.

Here’s another important recommendation from the CDC: N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for health care workers and other first responders during the pandemic.

Cloth or single use face masks are more about helping protect those around you as you talk, cough or sneeze; while respirators can help protect you while you breathe in.

Because of those protective capabilities, N95 respirators play a crucial role for healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines of COVID-19.

3M respirator supplies during the pandemic

During the pandemic, the majority of 3M respirators continue to be directed to hospitals, first responders and long-term care centers – as well as helping build federal, state and local stockpiles.

Early in the pandemic, 3M moved to full capacity production of N95 respirators at our plants. We continue to make more N95 respirators than ever before to get personal protective equipment to frontline workers. We're now making more than 95 million respirators a month in the U.S. – quadrupling production over the last 12 months. Globally we tripled production to 2 billion respirators in 2020.

We understand the extraordinary challenges facing health care workers every day and we’re committed to serving them as they fight COVID-19. While we’re making progress, the demand for personal protective equipment is far beyond what any one company can meet. We know this causes frustration and concern among those seeking PPE. 

3M continues to prioritize critical supplies

3M is working with governments, health agencies, distributors and others as they prioritize supplies to the most critical customer and public health needs. These organizations take control of the chain of custody of products from 3M manufacturing facilities and distribute the products according to the need and demand they see from their customers.

3M is working to support the reopening of the economy. We have released a small number of respirators for professional contractors to help keep them protected on the job. These respirators are not intended for sale to general consumers.  

3M is doing everything it can to meet the needs of those who require N95 respirators for their work.

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