With the news of potentially more contagious coronavirus variants spreading across the globe, several leading health experts are now recommending wearing two masks instead of one to stem transmission of the disease.
The practice of “double masking” — usually achieved by placing a cloth mask over a surgical one — started trending over the last month after more contagious variants of the virus were discovered first in the United Kingdom, then in South Africa and Brazil, and has since been backed health experts.
Over the weekend, double masking received endorsement from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and chief medical adviser for President Biden.
In an interview with NBC’s “Today,” Fauci argued the practice just makes “sense.”
“If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective and that’s the reason why you see people either double masking or doing a version of an N-95,” he said.
Shortly after Fauci’s remarks, a top public health expert in New York City also advised residents to wear two masks in order to combat the new faster-spreading coronavirus strains.
Dr. Jay Varma, Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio’s senior adviser on public health, said during a morning briefing on Tuesday, “If you have the opportunity to wear more than one mask, it is more likely that it’s going to be helpful than it’s going to be harmful.”
“In fact, myself, I now am starting to wear a surgical mask covered by a fabric mask,” he continued, adding, “More is probably better, even though we don’t know for sure why these new strains are more infectious.”
Still others, including Linsey Marr, an expert in virus transmission and professor at Virginia Tech University, have pitched the practice as a good idea.
“A mask is like an obstacle course for particles to get through,” Marr said in conversation with AARP. “Adding a second mask increases the chance that the particle will be trapped before it gets through.”
While wearing two masks has not been recommended in any official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it nonetheless has picked up steam as a new mitigation effort.
At least three new identified coronavirus variants have raised concerns since their recent discovery due to the belief that they are up to 70% more transmissible than other strains.
Author: Phil Shiver