Double-masking has 90% protection rate, according to officials

By Anna Schmader
February 28, 2021

Hanging masks. Photo by Anna Schmader

After the months and months of wearing a mask, social distancing and using hand sanitizer, the CDC released news that double masking provides more protection. Wearing a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask reduces exposure by more than 90 percent. 

“I double mask during work,” Sophia Jang, sophomore graphic design major, said. “It’s retail so it’s hard to maintain a six-foot distance.”

Jang is a rational thinker when it comes to reducing her exposure to COVID-19. “I know double masking provides more protection,” Jang said. “There are signs to back it up.” She ties and tightens her face mask to fit her face and keep it secured. 

The CDC said fitted masks securely placed over a medical procedural mask could increase your protection by ≥90 percent for airborne infections like COVID-19. The idea is to make sure both masks are fitted to the wearer’s face for the maximum amount of protection. If there is any wiggle room or air pockets on the border of the mask you want to do your best to close that gap. You never want to wear a wet or damp mask. 

“If I knew that double masking provided me with more protection I will do it,” Sofia Villegas, junior psychology major, said. “I want to say that I would start wearing two masks, but I don’t know if I actually would.”

With a growing population of anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers, double-masking might be a lot to enforce. Villegas said she saw on Facebook that Lehigh University urges double masking. With this new urgency in place, could other universities or institutions require the same? What would happen if that went into place?

“If everyone wore a mask correct, it could protect more,” Villegas said. “I’m all for this to be over so I’ll do what I have to do to get this over with.”

In addition to this, there have been experiments emphasizing the significance of wearing masks and proving them to work. Even though there is an abundance of information regarding mask protection and its significance, anti-maskers will continuously refuse to wear one. It’s always good to wear a mask even if you don’t have symptoms, you should still take precautions for yourself and others. There will always be an opposing side no matter the reliable data available.

Jeremy Howard, research scientist at the University of San Francisco, provided further background saying mask-wearing is one of the most significant ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, Nature Medicine emphasized surgical face masks can reduce signs of influenza aerosol droplets and coronavirus aerosols

What kind of masks are available?

“N95” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by ehpien

A question that can be asked is what material mask is safe? N95 masks are considered the gold standard.

They are lightweight and 95 percent effective in filtrating bacteria and particles. KN95 masks are the next best possible choice. The biggest difference between the two is that the KN95 is the Chinese version. 3M has a maximum of 99.92 percent filtration with a minimum of 95.33 percent filtration. 

Cloth masks can be homemade or store-bought. They can come in many different fabrics and types of cloth. When finding a cloth mask that protects, keep in mind: layers that are tightly bound that’s also breathable, has a guided nose bridge and to check if it’s good, the cloth should block out any light when held against a light source.

Disposable masks are super convenient and hold many layers with a guided nose bridge. 

Anna Schmader

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