Wearing a second face mask over the one you already have could help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 significantly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today.
Using dummies in a lab, researchers looked at what happens when you put a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask. When the source is wearing two masks and the receiver isn’t wearing any mask, the receiver’s cumulative exposure decreases by 82.2%. When the source is unmasked and the receiver is double-masked, the receiver’s cumulative exposure is down 83%. And when both the source and the receiver are wearing two masks, it drops by 96.4%.
The CDC experiments also looked at what happens when people knot and tuck their masks to make them fit close to their faces.
Today, the CDC updated its website to reflect new best masking practices.
You should ensure that your masks fit snugly to prevent leakage and choose a second or a multilayered mask to further prevent your respiratory droplets from escaping and others’ droplets from getting to you.
To get a good fit on your face, look to a bendable nose wire, put a mask fitter or brace over your disposable or cloth mask to stop air from escaping from beneath the edges, and check the fit of your mask by looking for gaps around the sides and top of your 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,” the CDC website explains.
As of Wednesday, the United States has 27,200,718 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 468,500 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.