What is the difference between a respirator and a face covering or mask?
A respirator excludes unfiltered air, thus increasing the protection for the wearer against airborne particles. A face covering or mask that does not seal against the face decreases the amount of viral particles exhaled by the individual wearing it and should prevent coughs, sneezes, and spit from escaping – however these shielding mechanisms do not eliminate exhaled viral particles and do not completely prevent inhalation of aerosol or particles suspended in air.
Understanding the difference: Surgical Mask and N95 Respirator. CDC. Accessed on May 6, 2020 at: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/pdfs/UnderstandDifferenceInfographic-508.pdf