New CDC research suggests double-masking boosts protection against COVID

More layers, better fit protects wearers and those around them better

DETROIT – In recent weeks, there has been a lot of health experts discussing the benefits of wearing two masks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weighed in Wednesday after new research suggests wearing two masks at the same time does make a significant difference in laboratory tests.

The CDC tested two different mask modifications -- putting a three-layered cloth mask over a surgical mask and “knotting and tucking,” where someone knots the ear loops of a surgical mask and tuck in the excess material to reduce the gaps on the side of the face.

The research shows that both modifications showed significant improvement when it comes to the level of protection. The data shows the importance of wearing a mask correctly and making sure it fits snugly over the mouth and nose.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky discussed the new research designed to evaluate different strategies to improve masks’ ability to block particles.

In the breathing experiment, having both the source and the receiver wear masks modified to fit better reduced the receiver’s exposure by more than 95%,” Walensky said.

The problem is the gap where masks meet the face. Putting a cloth mask over the surgical mask and knotting and tucking the mask both boosted protection.

“Based on this new information, the CDC is updating the mask information for the public on the CDC website to provide new options on how to improve mask fit,” Walensky said.

The new options include wearing a mask with a moldable nose wire or wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask.

You can read the CDC’s new mask guidelines here.

“There are also new options available to consumers called mask fitters -- small reusable devices that cinch a cloth or medical mask and can create a tighter fit against the face and thus improve mask performance,” Walensky said.

The bottom line is that masks work and they work best when the mask is worn correctly and the wearer has a good fit,

The simple answer is a mask that fits and more layers are better. A well-fitting mask is not only more comfortable, it also protects the wearer and those around them better.

You can read the CDC’s study here.


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