CDC Officially Endorses Double Masking


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance Wednesday to say that double masking and using a properly fitted mask are most effective in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

The update came after a lab experiment that simulated respiratory breaths found that placing a cloth mask over a disposable mask or using a mask with knotted ear loops and tucked in sides reduced exposure by about 95 percent, Fox News reported.

The CDC is now recommending that people wear a mask that fits snugly on their face and one that has layers “to keep your respiratory droplets in and others’ out.”

The agency also advises Americans to pick a mask with a nose wire as well as a mask fitter or brace “to prevent air from leaking around the edges of the mask.”

Although the CDC recommends pairing a disposable mask with a cloth mask, it does not recommend wearing two disposable masks or combining a KN95 with any other mask.

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The update was announced by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky during a White House coronavirus briefing, The New York Times reported.

“With cases, hospitalizations and deaths still very high, now is not the time to roll back mask requirements,” she said.

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“The bottom line is this: Masks work and they work when they have a good fit and are worn correctly,” Walensky said.

The CDC announced in January that it had begun studying whether using two masks was more effective after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it “makes common sense.”

Dr. John Brooks, the CDC’s chief medical officer of the COVID-19 response, said it was waiting for “hard data” before making any adjustments to the mask guidelines, according to Fox News.

“We want to put out there all the options that are available to people,” he said at an Infectious Diseases Society of America briefing last month.

“If we can people to mask, period, that is the big first step,” Brooks said.

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New coronavirus cases and hospitalizations appeared to drop last month, but the CDC cautioned that a more contagious variant of the virus originally found in Britain could become dominant in the United States by March, The Times reported.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have implemented mask mandates as of Feb. 1.

“Any mask is better than none,” Brooks said.

“There are substantial and compelling data that wearing a mask reduces spread, and in communities that adopt mask wearing, new infections go down.”

The new research, according to Brooks, shows how to enhance protection while wearing a mask.

He said that while the new study is only based on laboratory experiments, “it’s very clear evidence that the more of us who wear masks and the better the mask fits, the more each of us benefit individually.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith