Dr. Fauci Just Said This COVID Precaution Should Be "Common Sense"
Although this recommendation is not yet official, it would be wise to adhere to it.
By now, most people have a solid understanding of what they need to do to keep themselves safe from COVID. For the past year, health officials have emphasized the importance of social distancing, wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, and keeping hands clean. Now, with more transmissible COVID strains circulating, experts have introduced some new precautions people should be taking. White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, said that although double-masking is not yet an official recommendation, it's the "common sense approach." Read on to learn why Fauci thinks you should be wearing two masks, and for more mask guidance, This One Type of Face Mask Is "Unacceptable," Warns the Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Fauci said double-masking is common sense.
During a Feb. 3 interview with CNN, Fauci was asked if we should be reevaluating current public health recommendations such as social distancing and masking. Fauci, who has been advocating for doubling up on masks for a few weeks now, said doing so would be wise. "There's no [official] recommendation. However, there are many people who take the common sense approach," he said.
"If you're talking about a physical barrier, and as the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommends you want at least two layers within the mask as a physical barrier, and you feel maybe more of a physical barrier would be better, there is nothing wrong with people wearing two masks," Fauci noted. He added that he often wears two masks himself. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The CDC is evaluating the science behind double-masking before making a formal recommendation.
In order to make an official recommendation, the CDC has to perform research on wearing two masks because they're a science-based agency, Fauci explained. "Can we make a general recommendation that doesn't have scientific basis yet? No, but when the science comes along and tells us that it is better or not, then you will see a recommendation being made by the CDC," he explained.
CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said the CDC is currently evaluating the science behind double-masking to make an informed recommendation. And to make sure you're staying safe, If Your Mask Doesn't Have These 4 Things, Get a New One, Doctor Says.
Dr. Fauci began advocating for double-masking in January.
Fauci began discussing the idea of layering masks when the U.K. strain started circulating in the U.S., and the South Africa strain was spreading outside of the country. On Jan. 25, during an interview on Today, Fauci said, "If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective, and that's the reason why you see people either double-masking or doing a version of an N95."
In the face of the new strains, many experts have urged people to wear higher quality masks. However, Fauci pointed out that an alternative to this is doubling up on single-layer masks. And for masks to steer clear of, The CDC Warns Against Using These 6 Face Masks.
Research shows that two mask layers are more effective than one.
The CDC says masks should have two layers. A July 2020 video case study published by the journal Thorax found that cloth masks likely need at least two layers, but preferably three, to prevent the dispersal of viral droplets. However, if you can't get your hands on a high-quality multi-layered mask, the next best thing is doubling up on single-layered masks for additional protection. And for more on masks to avoid, If You Have This Mask, Get a New One Now, Experts Say.