Hi Steven, thanks for reading. You’re right about the initial recommendation of cloth masks over N95s being because of a shortage, but, unfortunately, we’re still in that position today. (Here’s a Harvard Business Review article about the problem, just published this morning: https://hbr.org/2020/09/why-the-u-s-still-has-a-severe-shortage-of-medical-supplies)
If we had an infinite number of N95s, I would recommend them, but our PPE supplies still are not where they need to be, so we need to reserve them for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers who have the highest exposure to the virus.
The good news is two-ply cloth masks and surgical masks are still able to block about 85% of the virus. So while they’re not perfect, they’re a lot better than nothing.