The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently experimenting to find out about the effectiveness of wearing two masks. However, what is most critical is that as many people as possible wear one, Dr. John Brooks, chief medical officer for the CDC Covid-19 Response, said during an Infectious Diseases Society of America briefing Friday.
“Experts have proposed using two masks, or double-masking, where you put a cloth mask with a very high thread count over a medical mask,” Brooks said. “When used this way, the medical mask acts as a filter and then the cloth mask over it adds filtration but also helps provide a better fit to the contours of your face and prevents leaking around the edges.”
Brooks said that there is thinking that this specific combination could block over 90% of more of the respiratory droplets, which is near the level of an N95 respirator.
“Although this strategy may be an excellent solution, we haven’t seen data from experiments yet testing two masks together,” he said. “But CDC scientists today are conducting experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of wearing two masks in this fashion and will share that information as soon as it’s available.”
Brooks shared advice for people who opt to double mask, as well as advice for general mask-wearing, before stressing the importance of as many people as possible wearing them.
“In public health, it is all about choice. The more choices we can offer people, the more likely they are to find something that suits them, and that they’ll adopt,” he said. “Any mask is better than no mask. And regardless of what we use, it’s critical that as many of us as possible mask up.”