To double-mask or not to double-mask?
A message from Dr. Martha Blum, medical director of infection prevention at Community Hospital:
As the pandemic has evolved, we have learned that not all cloth face coverings and masks offer the same amount of protection. We also now have more coronavirus variants in Monterey County. And they are highly transmissible.
The primary benefit of wearing a face covering is that it contains the user’s own respiratory secretions, which protects those around them. When public health officials recommend wearing face coverings, it’s not to protect the wearer, it’s to protect those around the wearer. The cloth face coverings do offer some protection to those wearing them, but with varying degrees of effectiveness.
With more highly transmissible variants of COVID now here, many people are looking for better protection against exposure in public. Based on current scientific evidence, it appears that adding a second layer of cloth mask or adding a surgical-type paper mask over a cloth mask will likely improve protection. Also, staying outside, keeping distance, and minimizing time spent with others not from your household continue to be very effective ways to reduce your risk of getting exposed and/or transmitting the virus.
Read additional information on mask use guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).