How effective is double-masking against COVID-19? | A Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

Masks work because they reduce the transmission of virus filled aerosol droplets from infected person to an uninfected person.

Question: Does double masking really help reduce the transmission of Covid infection?

Answer: Absolutely yes. For nearly 6 months, I have been double masking when I see my Covid positive patients at the hospital or at the monoclonal antibody infusion center. The general public will also benefit from double masking.

Masks work because they reduce the transmission of virus filled aerosol droplets from infected person to an uninfected person. The best protection is provided when both persons are masking and each has a double mask or tightly fitting masks.

Are cloth masks good?
Cloth masks are better than no masks, but surgical masks are better than cloth masks and N-95 are the best in reducing infection. For the general public surgical masks are sufficient, while healthcare workers need N95 masks.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention is suggesting the public wear a surgical mask and then wear a cloth mask over it. Such double masking provides a better fitting mask. Double masking reduces transmission of infection by 96% when the two persons are 6 feet apart.

What if I don’t like wearing two masks?
The CDC conducted studies with surgical masks that were knotted and tucked in so as to create a tight seal. When both persons were wearing this there was again a 96% reduction in exposure compared to no masking. Also a mask filter or a nylon covering over mask may be helpful to keep a tight fit.

Overall, the findings from the CDC on the impact of masking were impressive. When only the recipient person is wearing a mask, there is 7.5% improvement in cumulative exposure to infection compared to no masks. When only the infected person is wearing the mask, there is a 41.3% improvement.

When both persons are wearing a mask or when one of the two persons are double masked, there is a 82-84% improvement. The most improvement in reducing infectious particles is when both persons are wearing double masks and that is 96.4%.

How long will we have to wear masks?
I, like everyone else, am very tired of wearing masks all the time. However, while the virus is present in our community and with new cases coming each day, we need to keep wearing masks in addition to getting the vaccine.

In countries such as Australia, where they have few or no new daily cases, they are able to reduce the masking.

With aggressive masking and distancing efforts now, we too can achieve few to no cases and enjoy the old normal of not having to wear masks all the time.

Source: Commercial Appeal