SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – If you wear a mask now to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is suggesting you wear a second mask.
New guidelines say to use a surgical mask and then cover it with a cloth mask. Studies indicate that double masking can block up to 90 percent of the virus.
“It makes a lot of sense. When one mask is good — two masks may be better,” said Dr. Stephen Thacker who is an Infectious Disease Specialist with Memorial Health.
Experiments done on mannequins show that often with one surgical mask there are gaps on the side that can allow you to breathe in particles.
“So the combination of a surgical mask and a fabric mask seems to be really effective at helping filter both my own breath from being spread to others, as well as how much I breathe in, sometimes as much as 90 percent plus protection for both people in any situation,” said Thacker.
He says while some are still debating wearing a mask at all, the CDC study is just more proof that masks do work.
Thacker says the issue with any mask is a tight fit.
“If your glasses fog up, that is because air is moving through,” Thacker explained. “So if feel air moving through, or you don’t feel the mask touching everywhere around your face, then the seal’s not good. And so that’s where the double masking can help.”
“For those folks who are interested in protecting themselves, mostly what this does is give you an added layer of protection,” he continued, “especially as we walk through some of these unknowns around some of these new circulating variants.”
Thacker and the CDC say the most important thing is to accept that a mask will help.
“First and foremost, wear a mask,” Thacker said, “whether it be one or two.”