Double-masking appears twice as effective at stopping COVID, study finds

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A man wears two face masks in New York City on Dec. 10, 2020. The CDC says people can wear a cloth mask on top of a disposable surgical mask “for better fit and extra protection.” Getty Images


(Mike Stobbe/ Huffington Post) — U.S. government researchers found that two masks are better than one in slowing coronavirus spread, but health officials stopped short of recommending that everyone double up.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday reported the results of a lab experiment that spaced two artificial heads 6 feet (1.83 metres) from each other and checked to see how many coronavirus-sized particles spewed by one were inhaled by the other.

The researchers found that wearing one mask — surgical or cloth — blocked around 40 per cent of the particles coming toward the head that was breathing in. When a cloth mask was worn on top of a surgical mask, about 80 per cent were blocked.

When both the exhaling and inhaling heads were double-masked, more than 95 per cent of the particles were blocked, said the CDC’s Dr. John Brooks.

Still, for now, health authorities acknowledge they have their hands full just trying to get more people to wear one mask and wear it correctly. (…)

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