Experts encouraging double or better masks as COVID-19 variants hit U.S.


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — With medical experts reinforcing COVID-19 safety measures, there are growing discussions about double-masking.

“I would definitely consider putting two on,” said Drew Kosir, an Ohio State University student.

For months, masks were the primary weapon for preventing COVID-19; now, it’s a secondary mask that could aid in the battle against the evolving virus.

“To me, personally, it’s not too bad, so, I would be willing to do two if they genuinely recommend it,” said Ohio State University student Anna Vradi.

Some people are already wearing multiple masks.

“I do it at work,” said Shamus Johnson, another Ohio State University student and car shop employee. “I wear like a second mask and when we’re dealing with clients as well. But if I’m out and about, like on the street right here, I don’t wear two masks. More when I’m working in congested areas for other people.”

For others, medical conditions could make the measure more difficult.

“It would make it harder to breathe, I’ve got both asthma and COPD,” Virginia Strevig admits.

While the CDC’s formal mask recommendations haven’t changed, infectious disease experts now say two masks could better protect against the highly contagious new COVID-19 strains.

“The mask you have, if you combine that with a cloth mask over that, studies show that performs like an N95 mask,” Dr. Joseph Gastaldo from OhioHealth said. “The more layers you have, it does offer a higher level of protection.”

For many, wearing two masks would be a small measure for a big concern.

“In order for everybody to work together collectively, we all (have to) do a small part,” Johnson said.

But for experts, the variants are reinforcing the proper way to wear a mask.

“The recommendation is to wear a double-layered cloth mask — something that you can keep clean — and make sure the mask is appropriately fitted, covering your nose, your mouth, and your chin,” Gastaldo said. “If we kind of switch the focus a double layer mask, or a double layer cloth mask, that’s going to create more confusion and emotion swirl.”

Experts recommend the public refrain from wearing N95 masks because they are not a one size fits all, and they still need the supply for healthcare workers.

Doctors also said a face shield without a mask is not sufficient protection from the virus.

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