Wearing a cloth face mask over a surgical mask significantly reduces exposure to Covid-19, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, as federal health experts urge Americans to double-mask to prevent the spread of new variants of the virus.
Researchers determined that when a person wears two masks properly, and the people around them do the same, the risk of transmitting infectious aerosols can be reduced by as much as 95%.
The other method the CDC found that “substantially improved source control and reduced wearer exposure” to the virus was knotting the ear loops of a single surgical mask and then tucking in and flattening the extra material close to the face.
The CDC reiterated that universal masking is the best protection against Covid-19 until vaccine-induced population immunity is achieved.
“We know that universal masking works,” said CDC officer John T. Brooks. “And now these variants are circulating … whatever we can do to improve the fit of a mask to make it work better, the faster we can end this pandemic.”
Last month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the country’s top infectious disease specialists, said that double-masking being more effective “just makes common sense.” In addition to wearing proper face coverings, the CDC findings affirm that physical distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and good hand hygiene remains critically important as well. According to experiments performed by the CDC, a three-ply surgical mask blocked 42% of particles from a simulated cough, and a three-ply cloth mask blocked 44 percent%. Yet, when used in unison, 92% of particles were blocked.
Last October, then President Donald Trump mocked Joe Biden for wearing a face covering, saying, “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask.” When speaking about masks in August, Trump said, “Maybe they’re great, and maybe they’re just good. Maybe they’re not so good.” In June, he suggested that masks could be counterproductive. “Masks are a double-edged sword,” Trump claimed. “People touch them. And they grab them, and I see it all the time.”
67%. That’s the percentage of Americans that plan to get vaccinated or have already been inoculated, according to a new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released Wednesday.