Below is a comparison of disposable respirators that are subject to regulatory standards around the world. Here in the US, the gold standard is the N95 NIOSH 510K for a filtering facepiece respirator, also known as an FFR. The problem is that the N95 NIOSH 510K is only made by a select few factories and they are having a difficult time producing enough of these FFRs to keep our healthcare providers sufficiently stocked. With the general public also tying to purchase these FFRs the CDC has asked the general public to use only cloth face coverings and to leave the N95 face masks available to our healthcare providers.
Many are referring to N95 equivalent FFRs, but how equivalent are they? Are they just as good as the NIOSH 510K certified FFRs? In the attached comparison you will see that in some cases the other equivalent or similar FFRs are just as good and in some cases even better.
Since the CDC has stated that the general public should all be wearing face coverings of some sort many are trying to purchase the N95 NIOSH 510K. But during pandemic health authorities have said that certain populations should use an equivalent respirator.