Wearing two masks can significantly improve protection, a new study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows. The study reported on Wednesday found that a cloth mask alone blocked 44.3% of particles. When combined with the cloth mask over the surgical mask, 92.5% of cough particles were blocked.
“These experimental data reinforce CDC’s prior guidance that everyone 2 years of age or older should wear a mask when in public and around others in the home not living with you,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said at a White House briefing.
“We continue to recommend that masks should have two or more layers, completely cover your nose and mouth, and fit snugly against your nose and the sides of your face,” said Walensky.
“The science is clear,” she said. “Everyone needs to be wearing a mask when they are in public or when they are in their own home but with people who do not live in their household.”
“This is especially true with our ongoing concern of new variants spreading in the United States,” she said.
Correct and consistent mask use is a critical step everyone can take to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19. Masks work best when everyone wears them, but not all masks provide the same protection. When choosing a mask, look at how well it fits, how well it filters the air, and how many layers it has.
Two important ways to make sure your mask works the best it can
Make sure your mask fits snugly against your face. Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask
Pick a mask with layers to keep your respiratory droplets in and others’ out. A mask with layers will stop more respiratory droplets getting inside your mask or escaping from your mask if you are sick.
Choose a mask with a Nose Wire
A nose wire is a metal strip along the top of the mask
Nose wires prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask.
Bend the nose wire over your nose to fit close to your face.
Use a Mask Fitter or Brace
Use a mask fitter or brace over a disposable mask or a cloth mask to prevent air from leaking around the edges of the mask.
Check that it Fits Snugly over your nose, mouth, and chin
Check for gaps by cupping your hands around the outside edges of the mask.
Make sure no air is flowing from the area near your eyes or from the sides of the mask.
If the mask has a good fit, you will feel warm air come through the front of the mask and may be able to see the mask material move in and out with each breath.
Add Layers of material
Ways to layer
Use a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric.
Wear one disposable mask underneath a cloth mask.
The second mask should push the edges of the inner mask against your face.
Make sure you can see and breathe easily
Combine two disposable masks
Disposable masks are not designed to fit tightly and wearing more than one will not improve fit.