Rumor vs Reality

Published February 26, 2021

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did a study that showed that wearing a surgical mask underneath a cloth mask can block more than 90 percent of virus particles. It’s the first report that compares how good different mask-wearing techniques are at protecting the people who wear them, and the people around them.

How does it work? The surgical mask acts like a filter, and the cloth one adds the extra layer and helps with the fit.

How do you do it? Easy. Wear a medical or surgical mask underneath your cloth mask. The top mask will make the bottom one fit better and keep you – and others – safer.

Can you just wear two surgical masks? No. They’ll gap, let in other people’s respiratory droplets and let yours out. It’s not only about layering, but also about proper fit.

90% protection from viral particles is nothing to sneeze at.

References

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Improve How Your Mask Protects You. Updated February 13, 2021.

NBC News. CDC report: Double-masking can block more than 90 percent of viral particles. February 10, 2021.

Cleveland Clinic. Should You Wear Two Masks to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19?. February 12, 2021.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidance for Wearing Masks. Updated February 18, 2021.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Improve the Fit and Filtration of Your Mask to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19. Updated Feb 17, 2021.

NBC News. CDC updates: Double masking and best mask guidelines. February 10, 2021.

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