HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The CDC released new recommendations on mask-wearing after a new study suggested doubling up on masks could greatly reduce your chances of contracting and spreading the virus.
In a lab experiment by the CDC, researchers found that by spacing out two artificial heads six feet apart and simulating breathing, more than 95 percent of coronavirus particles were blocked when the dummies were double-masked with a cloth and surgical mask. That’s compared to just 40 percent of the virus being blocked when one mask was being worn.
Researchers say double masking better seals the face from exposure to COVID-19.
“The bottom line is this. Masks work and they work best when they have a good fit and are worn correctly,” said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
The CDC said a second just as effective option, is to wear a surgical mask, and knots at the end of each mask loop, in order to further tighten the mask around your face.
“The idea is to try to have it seal as much as possible around your face,” said Dr. George Rutherford, a noted infectious disease expert at UCSF Medical Center. “Sixty percent of transmission is from people who do not have symptoms. So when you walk out of the house in the morning you do not know if you’re infected or not, most of the time, the majority of the time. So that’s why we want you to wear masks, because if you happen to be one of the unfortunate people who is infected, it cuts down on the chances of spreading it to other people.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also weighed on the new CDC study on Wednesday. “We get asked all the time, should we be double masking? The CDC makes recommendations based on data that they accumulate because it’s a science-based organization. Right now they are looking at these different options of mask-wearing. In the meantime, as I often get asked, should you be wearing two masks or one mask? I say there’s no recommendation, however, there are many people who take the common sense approach. If you’re talking about a physical barrier, and as the CDC recommends you want at least two layers within the mask as a physical barrier, and you feel maybe more of a physical barrier would be better. There’s nothing wrong with people wearing two masks. I often myself wear two masks.”
While most health experts agree that N-95 masks are also highly effective, the CDC has yet to recommend their use for the general public due to concerns about its widespread use potentially resulting in supply shortages for healthcare professionals.