Yes, but the kind of mask matters.
The virus responsible for COVID-19—SARS-CoV-2—spreads through the air in droplets and particles released when someone exhales as they are speaking, singing, coughing, exercising or sneezing. You can become infected with COVID-19 when you breath in these droplets containing the virus floating in the air around you. Masks help to filter these droplets and particles out of the air before you breath it in. But, as the coronavirus continues to evolve and change, the type of mask you wear also makes a difference.
With earlier variants of the virus, cloth masks, especially if everyone was wearing them, provided enough of a filter to protect you from infection. Newer variants, such as Omicron, require greater levels of protection and therefore better-quality masks—specifically respirator masks (N95 and KN95). Masking works best when everyone wears them, but the good news is that a high-quality mask protects you from infection even if no one else is wearing one.
Scientists have determined that the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads through tiny droplets and particles that float in the air after an infected person speaks, sings, exercises, coughs and sneezes.
Masks help protect you by filtering the air before you inhale it even if no one else around you is wearing one.
Research indicates that respirator masks—N95 and KN95—provide the greatest level of protection, especially against newer variants.