Double the mask, double the protection

Mask layering may increase safety


Annabel Roubinowitz

Freshman Ashlyn Grove layers two masks in order to increase virus protection. The general recommendation is to wear a cloth mask over a medical mask for a better fit.

Madeline Thiara, Senior Reporter

WEB EXCLUSIVE Wearing one mask seemed strange last March, and now in 2021, one is not enough. Double-masking is an increasingly popular strategy to add another layer of protection as new variants of the coronavirus emerge. 

Although the Center for Disease Control and Prevention hasn’t made a recommendation about layering masks, it is “common sense” that two masks offer more protection than one, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“I have started to wear two masks when running errands like going to the grocery story and doing other things that don’t allow for as much physical distancing,” junior Roya Meykadeh said. “Sometimes I feel like one mask isn’t enough when I am forced to be in close contact with people, which I why I use two.”

As N95 masks are mostly reserved for healthcare workers and they are in short supply, wearing a multi-layer cloth masks or layering two is sufficient, according to the CDC.

Bandanas and gators do not offer reasonable protection as they only have single layer coverage and can easily allow for droplets to pass through.

“I used to wear only a thin layered mask when I was in public, but after reading about the new variants in addition to the existing strains of the virus, I have decided to double up,” senior Driscoll Callan said. “There is so much that remains unknown about the virus, so I will just adhere to what the CDC recommends.”

Prominent political figures such as President Joe Biden and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg have been double-masking during public events, with both appearing to be wearing a cloth or surgical mask over a medical mask.

“I like to layer my medical mask under my cloth mask in order for the thicker mask to fit better and to increase comfort,” Meykadeh said. “I have found that I just generally feel safer with an extra layer of protection.”