American CDC study recommends double masking to reduce Covid-19 exposure

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found close-fitting surgical masks worn underneath cloth masks – known as double masking – can significantly enhance protection against Covid-19.

This is the first CDC-backed research to recommend “double-masking”, although the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, has recommended the public consider the measure in past briefings.

“There’s nothing wrong with people wearing two masks,” Fauci said at a press briefing one week before the research was released. “I often myself wear two masks.”

The CDC study found the most protective masks fit well around the face “to prevent leakage of air around the masks edges”, and also recommended knotting ear loops near the facial covering portion of the mask to contour the mask closer to the face.

The study did not look at the effectiveness of respirators, like N95s, and most health authorities recommend the public continue to reserve respirators for medical personnel.

This CDC study compared wearing no mask, a poorly fitted surgical mask, cloth-only mask and double-masking in a simulation of respiratory droplets between two people – a source and a receiver.

The study found when people wear a well-fitted surgical mask covered by a cloth mask, they can increase their own protection from aerosol droplets by 90% or more, and that possible transmission is significantly reduced when both parties wore masks.

Main Photo: Australian Open (AO) officials stand next to a large display showing a woman wearing a face mask at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. EPA-EFE/DAVE HUNT

Read more via The Guardian/CDC

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