CDC: Double masking can prevent virus by over 96 percent

Doubling face masks, CDC officials now assert, can 'reduce exposure from infected wearers and reduce exposure of uninfected wearers.'

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It’s time to double up. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now definitively declared that wearing a well-fitting surgical mask underneath a cloth mask can reduce exposure to COVID-19 by 96%. 

The new study also advises “knotting the ear loops” of the medical mask to make it more form-fitting. 

A man wears a double mask as he walks in Times Square in New York City. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says wearing a well-fitting surgical mask underneath a cloth mask can reduce exposure to COVID-19 by 96 percent. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

Doubling masks, officials assert, can “substantially reduce exposure from infected wearers (source control) and reduces exposure of uninfected wearers (wearer exposure).” 

In a tweet Wednesday, the CDC wrote that exposures to potentially infectious droplets decreased “by about 95%” with double masks and tighter-fitting options; they advised everyone to #WearAMask to stop the spread of the virus. 

Surgical masks have apparently reduced in effectiveness and can allow air in and out of their edges. The CDC also now endorses “a mask fitter,” which can make a tighter seal over a surgical mask. 

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In an interview with Today in late January, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that double-masking just makes “common sense.” 

Masks may remain a part of life for most Americans through the rest of 2021, and manufacturers have designed all kinds, including stylish face coverings from high-powered fashion houses. However, research shows that as coronavirus continues to mutate, double-masking offers the best protection, particularly while indoors. 

The double-mask mandate doesn’t apply to people who wear a mask with an N95 respirator, which is the highest level of particle protection. Wearers should just make sure the masks are well-fitting, according to a new article in Rolling Stone. 

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More than 470,000 Americans have died from coronavirus since the disease was first detected in the U.S. a year ago, however, the advent of vaccines is providing some light at the end of a dark tunnel. Currently, nearly 45 million in the U.S. have been vaccinated against it. 

Dr. Fauci said this week that the number of vaccinated Americans could equal half of the country’s population by this summer.

“I would imagine by the time we get to April, that will be what I would call for, you know, for better wording, open season,” he told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. “Namely, virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated.”

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