The New York Health Department did an about-face Tuesday, announcing a recall of some 250,000 face masks distributed to schools, libraries, and other public educational facilities in the state. State officials deemed the KN95 face coverings, a fraction of the 5 million it began distributing this week, “questionable.” Experts have advised Americans to upgrade the quality of their everyday masks to combat the Omicron variant’s surge in recent weeks, guidance New York was attempting to provide materials for. The department is conducting a second review of the masks’ quality and their distribution, a spokesperson told Gothamist. At least one county that received the masks, Monroe, said in a statement that they did not afford the same protection as legitimate KN95 masks but said in the absence of true KN95s, residents should use them anyway.
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