The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has often been scrutinized for shifting its guidelines during the COVID-19 Pandemic, but that didn't stop the agency from issuing new masking guidelines on Friday. 

The CDC said that N95 masks “provide the highest level of protection from particles, including the virus that causes Covid-19,” adding that “loosely woven cloth products provide the least protection.”

Americans are now strongly recommended to wear the most protective mask possible, even with a short supply of the recommended types, with the CDC stating “people can choose respirators such as N95s and KN95s, including removing concerns related to supply shortages for N95s,” and clarifying that “‘surgical N95s’ are a specific type of respirator that should be reserved for healthcare settings.”

Masks often remain unworn and Covid passes unchecked as the government shies away from enforcing its guidelines Masks often remain unworn and Covid passes unchecked as the government shies away from enforcing its guidelines Photo: ANP via AFP / Ramon van Flymen

"Masking is a critical public health tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and it is important to remember that any mask is better than no mask," the CDC said in a statement, as reported by CNN.

President Joe Biden said Thursday that the White House intends to make “high quality” masks available to the public, free of charge.