At last week’s inauguration many people were spotted double masking. But is it really necessary or even a good idea to wear two masks at the same time? Yes, it turns out. Dr. Anthony Fauci told TODAY that it just makes more sense to have that extra layer of protection, especially with the new threat of the COVID-19 variant which can spread more easily.
“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,” Fauci said on NBC News’ TODAY. “That’s the reason why you see people either double masking or doing a version of an N-95.”
Double masking as it’s known can be a good way to close the gaps that a single mask can leave open. Some people are choosing to double up only when they’re in situations that put them at a higher risk of COVID exposure.
“Double-masking is a sensible and easy way to lower your risk, especially if circumstances require you to spend more time around others — like in a taxi, on a train or plane or at an inauguration,” said Tara Parker-Pope in her “Well” column in The New York Times.
“We should all be thinking about the quality of our masks right now,” she said. “New variants of the coronavirus continue to emerge, and one in particular is cause for pressing concern in the United States because it’s so contagious and spreading fast.
Parker-Pope says that now is the time to keep taking the same pandemic precautions we’ve gotten used to but also to up our game in riskier situations.
There is a correct way to double-mask – the best thing to do is to wear a surgical-type mask under a cloth mask. The bottom layer will be more absorbent while the cloth layer acts as a barrier.
The KF94 masks, available on Amazon, are a little expensive and are not disposable, but they can be a good choice for layering under a cloth mask, especially when you’re in a setting that limits your ability to social distance, such as taking any type of public transportation.
The KF94 is also a great option since we should still be saving those precious N95 masks for healthcare workers and frontline responders.
And remember, even if you’ve double-masked, that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Continue to social distance, wash hands frequently and follow all of the other necessary protocols to mitigate risk.
Also be sure to check out the CDC’s Guide to Masks for all the info on which mask to choose, how to wear it and how to take it off.