The nation’s top infectious disease expert says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may recommend wearing two masks.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has endorsed the use of two masks, also known as double-making, in the past – particularly a cloth mask and then a surgical mask over it.
In an appearance on The Washington Post Live on Tuesday, Fauci was asked by reporter David Ignatius if the public health agency would issue guidance for all Americans to do the same.
‘That’s possible…In fact, just discussions with my CDC colleagues yesterday, we were talking about the CDC is looking at doing a study of seeing whether or not two masks are better than one,’ Fauci replied.
‘It makes common sense you would think.’
On Tuesday druing an appearance of The Washington Post Live (above), Dr Anthony Fauci said the CDC is looking at conducting a study of whether or not two masks are better than one
Fauci has recommended double-masking in the past, saying it makes ‘common sense’ that two face coverings create more of a physical barrier. Pictured: Fauci wears two masks during a news conference at the White House, November 19
Fauci said he has increasingly seen more people during the pandemic adopt a two-mask approach, himself included.
‘You can make a general common sense extrapolation,’ he said.
‘If one mask serves as a physical barrier, if you put two on – if you’re looking for enhancing the physical barrier – it makes common sense that it certainly can’t hurt and might help.
Fauci added that the CDC is not issuing a new recommendation right now because there is a lack of data on this issue.
‘But when people tell me or ask me: “Should I be waring two masks?” I say: “You know, if it makes you feel better to do two masks, the chances are you’re gonna get an enhanced protection, so why not go ahead and do it.”‘
Several studies have shown that wearing multiple masks may offer a measure of protection against infectious droplets.
A July 2020 study found that wearing two masks could increase protection from virus particles from 50 to 75 percent.
When it comes to double-masking, it’s important to make sure the inner mask is snug and the outer layer has a good filter study author Dr Loretta Fernandez, an associate professor at Northeastern University, told USA TODAY.
‘We found that the particle removal efficiency of many surgical style masks could be improved by up to 50 percent by simply snugging the mask material to the face,’ she said.
‘In the lab, we did this by adding a nylon stocking, but also tested other elastic layers such as gators and tights and found that they also solved the problem of cutting off air leaking in from around the mask.’
However, public health experts say that by wearing more than one face covering, but you will also be more likely to fiddle with an additional mask, and it makes it harder to breathe
In a recent interview with DailyMail.com, Dr William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says he has recently taken to wearing two masks.
But he adds that a good quality three-layer mask, with two tightly woven layers of outer material with a filter material in between the two, is just as good.
For example, you can use fabric like cotton or microfiber for the outer layers and a piece of vacuum bag, a coffee filter or a HEPA filter for the inner layer.
‘There isn’t any doubt that the thicker the mask is, generally it is thought the more effective it will be in screening out viral particles,’ Schaffner said.
‘Mainly, the thicker it is, the more effective it is of filtering particles away from me or, if I happen to be exhaling them, away from you.’