Does wearing TWO face masks at once give better protection against Covid?

We’ve all got used to wearing one face mask – but could wearing two at once soon become a thing?

Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 8:27 pm

In recent weeks, there have been growing recommendations of so-called double masking to offer increased protection against Covid-19

Dr Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to US President Joe Biden, recommended using two masks at a COVID-19 response news conference on Wednesday, saying there was "no harm" if people wanted to for added protection.

Meanwhile, Public Health England has said: “Research suggests that multi-layered face coverings are more effective than single-layer, but we are not aware of any evidence that wearing two face coverings is more effective than one.”

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Could people soon start wearing two masks at once?

Dr Fauci said double masking was a "common sense approach" to preventing the spread of coronavirus.

He said the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) could soon recommend the practice to stop the spread of coronavirus variants, although there isn't yet enough data to make a formal recommendation.

He said: "The more we get the virus controlled globally, the better off we will be.”

On Inauguration Day, members of the Joe Biden administration were spotted wearing two masks at once – or ‘double masking’.

It’s since been touted as being a bit of a trend, with many wondering if wearing two masks is better than one.

Despite the caution seen by those attending the historic ceremony, according to PHE it would have been just as useful for those wearing two masks to wear one mask instead with an extra layer inside, such as a filter.

Filtered masks are proven to be more effective than unfiltered ones, but only if the filter is regularly changed and kept hygienic.

Jade Pallett, microbiologist at ZOONO, says she sees the logic in double masking.

"Given that the primary purpose of a mask is to act as a filter to particles in the air (including microbes), adding a secondary mask layer is likely to only add further protection – increasing the number of barriers in turn increases the level of protection,’ she explained. “It has also been noted that additional benefit may come from two masks ensuring that the gaps around a singular mask are covered.”