With medical supplies in high demand, federal authorities say health workers can wear surgical masks for protection while treating COVID-19 patients — but growing evidence suggests the practice is putting workers in jeopardy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said lower-grade surgical masks are “an acceptable alternative” to N95 masks unless workers are performing an intubation or another procedure on a COVID patient that could unleash a high volume of virus particles.
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But scholars, nonprofit leaders and former regulators in the specialized field of occupational safety say relying on surgical