The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently studying the effectiveness of double masks – especially a cloth mask placed over a medical mask – to stop coronavirus spread but do not yet have “hard data” to support if it would be better than using a single mask.
“We do not recommend for or against double masking,” says Dr. John Brooks, CDC Chief Medical Officer for the COVID-19 response. “We want to lay out all the options available to people. If we can get people to mask the period, that’s the first big step.”
Brooks, who attended the Infectious Diseases Society of America briefing on Friday, said the agency would “share the information” as soon as possible. He said some evidence suggests that the use of a cloth and medical mask can block over 90% or more of virus particles, which would be close to the level of protection offered by N95 masks.
“Everyone knows that wearing masks is still an important part of the public’s response to COVID-19,” Brooks said in his opening remarks. “The CDC recommends that all persons over the age of 2 wear a mask in public environments and around people outside your household.”
Recently, top experts, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, outlined the effectiveness of two masks against one in recent days to stop the spread of the virus.
“If you have a physical coverage with one layer, you put on another layer, it simply makes sense that it would probably be more effective,” Fauci said while performing today this week. “And that’s why you see people either double-mask or make a version of the N95.”
At present, the CDC only recommends the N95 masks for healthcare professionals.
Brooks added that the agency continues to evaluate the effectiveness of different material combinations and warned that sometimes more does not necessarily correspond better, citing the example of using multiple condoms. But using a double mask makes a person feel safe and results in another person practicing mask use, he does not foresee it as a problem.
“If double masking is an option they would use to use a mask, I would wholeheartedly support it,” he said.
CDC Chief Dr. Rochelle Walensky told NBC’s “Today” on Friday that 59% of Americans are wearing masks right now.
“There are different types of quality masks and our recommendation is a multilayer canvas mask or procedure mask or medical mask, certainly offers N95s best filtration but they are actually very difficult to tolerate for long periods, and I think the difference between a two layer layer mask and an N95 is relatively small compared with the difference between getting 41% of the American population disguised. “
She said that a cloth mask refers to two or three layers.
Asked on Thursday if the CDC had planned to issue new guidance on double masks, a Fox News spokesman addressed the agency’s current guidelines, which recommend “wearing masks with two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric.”
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