They say two heads are better than one; can the same be said for facemasks? The answer is yes, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. A study published in the peer-reviewed journal “Matter” in July found that wearing two masks could increase protection from virus particles by 50% up to 75%. It not only added an extra layer of protection but also made the mask fit snugger around the face, said Dr. Loretta Fernandez, study author and associate professor at Northeastern University. The study found that the particle removal efficiency of many surgical style masks could be improved by up to 50% by simply snugging the mask material to the face.
America’s renewed interest in double masking also comes as variants that appear to be more contagious emerge from the U.S., South Africa, Brazil, and California. However, some experts are less concerned about double masking to protect against variants and more concerned about people who aren’t masking at all. The gold standard N95 masks are still hard to find and should be reserved for health care workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. But experts say KF94 masks, from South Korea, are a good second option. The KF94 mask is made of a similar material as the N95 and blocks 94% of viral particles. The KF94 mask has ear loops instead of elastic bands and is cheaper but not reusable.
Do you need to wear two masks or one that fits snuggly and protects you? Any way you choose to protect yourself and those around you should include a facemask. You decide which best suits your needs based on exposure and ability to breathe comfortably. There is no time like now to invest in our future, mask up, and encourage everyone you know to do the same!
Stay the course, stay well, mask up, get vaccinated, and stay tuned!