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CDC says Double-Masking Improves Protection From COVID-19

The fit of your mask matters a lot for protection against the novel coronavirus, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And double masking may be one simple way to get a better fit, the study found.

Although a number of medical experts — including Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser on COVID-19 for the Biden administration — have recommended double masking in recent weeks, the study marks the first time CDC researchers have tested the method as a way to boost protection from masks.

Cloth and surgical masks are popular mask choices for the general public, while N95 respirators are generally reserved for health care professionals. However, cloth and surgical masks tend to have a looser fit than N95 masks, potentially reducing their effectiveness.

The study researchers examined two methods for improving mask fit: wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask — i.e. double masking; or tying knots in the ear loops of a surgical mask and tucking the extra mask material close to the face, which the researchers dub “knotted and tucked masks.”

They used mannequin dummies for their experiments, and examined how well the masks worked to block small aerosolized particles, around 0.1 to 0.7 micrometers in diameter, from reaching the dummies’ faces.

They found that a cloth mask alone blocked 44.3% of the small particles from a simulated cough, and an unadjusted surgical mask — which had large gaps on the sides — blocked 42.0% of particles from a simulated cough. But the combination of a cloth mask over a surgical mask blocked 92.5% of the particles.

The researchers note that the methods they tested may not be feasible for everyone — double masking may make breathing difficult for some; and knotting and tucking may not work for people with larger faces, because the adjusted mask may no longer fully cover their nose and mouth.

Excerpted from “CDC says Double-Masking Improves Protection From COVID-19” in LiveScience. Read the full article online.

Source: LiveScience | CDC says Double-Masking Improves Protection From COVID-19, https://www.livescience.com/cdc-double-masking.html | © 2021 Future US, Inc

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