Should You Wear Two Face Masks? Here’s What Experts Think

As the pandemic evolves, coronavirus cases rise and new variants of the disease appear across states, a reevaluation of COVID-19 safety measures can’t hurt. While there’s not much you can do aside from maintaining social distancing guidelines and keeping up with safety measures even when exhausted by them, experts have been proposing the use of double masks. What’s the science on them?

According to The New York Times, double masking is “a sensible and easy way to lower your risk, especially if circumstances require you to spend more time around others — like in a taxi, on a train or plane, or at an inauguration.”

Double masking is an effective measure, especially now that we’re talking about new COVID-19 strains that are more contagious than what we’re used to. These variants latch onto cells more efficiently, making it more difficult to escape them once you come in contact with an infected person. They make it possible for you to breathe in less virus and spend less time with an infected person and still contract the disease.

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Photo by Vera Davidova via Unsplash

Dr. Abisola Olulade told Refinery 29 she doesn’t think that double masking is as effective as wearing one very efficient mask, but she sees no risks with the practice. “If you have a face mask that’s thin, flimsy, falling apart, frayed, or if you put it up to a light and you see light coming through it, it might be helpful to wear another one on top of it,” she said.

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Now that we know more about the virus, it’s important to be diligent with our masks, understanding that the fabric used makes a significant difference when it comes to our protection. It’s not mandatory to double mask, but it is important to wear your most protective mask when you’re spending time indoors with people you don’t live with, be that at the grocery store, when riding an Uber or meeting up with close friends or family members.

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Double masks are gaining traction among experts and people who want an edge in safety, with more and more data showing support. As long as the masks allow you to breathe comfortably and are in good shape, you’re going in the right direction. As COVID-19 cases rise and new variants appear, there’s not a thing as being “too safe.”

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