Double masking, better mask fit can reduce Covid publicity, CDC study finds

This illustration exhibits a lady carrying two facemasks, a fabric mask over a surgical mask, in Arlington, Virginia, on February 8, 2021.

Olivier Douliery | AFP | Getty Images

Wearing a fabric mask over a surgical mask can assist considerably reduce the danger of publicity to Covid-19, as can enhancing a mask’s fit, in accordance with a brand new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC researchers mentioned they explored the effectiveness of various masking approaches by means of laboratory experiments through which they positioned two synthetic heads 6 ft from each other and measured what number of coronavirus-sized particles exhaled by one have been inhaled by the opposite.

The researchers discovered that carrying only one mask, both surgical or fabric, blocked somewhat over 40% of the particles from simulated respiratory by an unmasked head. But a fabric mask on high of a surgical mask blocked about 80% of particles from an unmasked head. When each of the heads within the experiment wore two masks, greater than 95% of the particles have been blocked, the researchers discovered.

The study additionally discovered {that a} tighter fit can improved the effectiveness of masks. One means to enhance the fit of medical masks is that if they’re “knotted and tucked.” That’s achieved, the CDC mentioned, “by bringing together the corners and ear loops on each side, knotting the ear loops together where they attach to the mask, and then tucking in and flattening the resulting extra mask material to minimize the side gaps.”

The company mentioned it discovered that when each heads have been carrying a knotted and tucked mask, about 96% of particles have been blocked. When one of many heads was carrying a knotted and tucked mask and the opposite was not, somewhat over 60% of particles have been blocked.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky mentioned the study’s findings “underscore the importance of wearing a mask correctly and making sure it fits closely and snugly over your nose and mouth.”

Walensky mentioned the company just isn’t altering its authentic suggestion that everybody two years and older put on a mask when round individuals who do not dwell of their family.

However, the company will replace its steerage on its web site “to provide new options on how to improve mask fit,” Walensky mentioned.

Those choices embrace carrying a mask with a moldable nostril wire or carrying a fabric mask over a disposable surgical mask, she mentioned. She added that there are new units referred to as mask fitters that can assist cinch a fabric or medical mask and create a tighter fit.

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

The up to date steerage is the newest try by President Joe Biden‘s administration to supply clear steerage to Americans. Walensky has tasked CDC scientists with reviewing all steerage from the company that was issued underneath the earlier administration to ensure it is clear and constant.

The situation of masking turned a contentious one final yr as well being officers urged Americans to put on masks in public at the same time as President Donald Trump declined for months to seem publicly with a mask.

The up to date steerage comes at an vital time within the U.S. outbreak. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are falling, however well being officers warn that new, extra contagious variants threaten to reverse the nation’s progress and trigger one other surge. Reducing unfold of the virus, and of the brand new variants, is as vital as ever because the nation races to vaccinate the general public however is hampered by constrained provide, well being officers say.

Biden has urged all Americans to decide to carrying masks in public for his 100 days in workplace to assist gradual the unfold of the virus. As of Feb. 1, 14 states and the District of Columbia all had common masking mandates, the CDC mentioned. Biden has additionally mandated mask carrying on all federal property and on home and worldwide transportation, together with public buses, trains and planes.

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