CDC now recommends double masking with tighter fitting masks

February 17, 2021 /

A new CDC report shows that double masking can lower the transmission of COVID-19. 

“This is a physical covering to prevent droplets and viruses from getting in so if you have a physical covering layer with one layer, and another layer on it just makes common sense,” said Dr. Anthony Fauchi, the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden.

The CDC has established that wearing a mask is highly recommended in slowing the spread of the virus, as the virus can be transmitted through respiratory droplets. The study shows having a tighter fit mask can increase the effectiveness of reducing exposure to COVID-19. 

The study focused on wearing a medical mask under a cloth mask or folding a medical mask on its side with knotted ear loops. The results showed that both methods achieved a tighter fit mask with an efficiency of about 95 percent against exposure.

The researchers state that these findings do not suggest to wear double cloth masks or two medical masks as the study only focused on using a medical disposable mask under the cloth mask. This link provides a How To: to the knotting and tucking technique:

With these new findings, the CDC has updated their mask wearing recommendations to:

-Using a mask with a nose wire.

-Putting on a mask fitter over a disposable or cloth mask

-Wear two layers of masks–one disposable underneath and one cloth mask on top.

-Utilize the knot and tuck method.

-Always make sure the mask fits snugly to the face. 

If you’re unsure if your mask is too loose, put on a new or clean and dry mask. Once on, try blowing air with hands on the side of the mask or near your chin. If hot air can be felt, this means the mask may have gaps that may need to be tucked in or the mask may need to be adjusted. If two masks are used, repeat this process when the second mask is on. If adjustments are not working, a new mask may be needed. 

Overall, the study highlights how important a good fit of a mask is in protecting the mask wearer and others.

“Until vaccine-induced population immunity is achieved, universal masking is a highly effective means to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19],” the CDC said in a statement.

Masking is not the only preventative measure, and the CDC recommends to continue good hand hygiene, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and poor ventilated areas.