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Some experts recommend two face coverings as COVID-19 strains emerge

Virginians prepare for potential mandate on wearing masks in public
Posted at 3:16 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 21:04:25-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — We've been wearing masks for months now, but recently, some health officials have been saying that two might be better than one.

Dr. Allessandro Sette, with the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, says that recommendation basically comes down to increasing protection. With new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus emerging, increasing safety is top of mind.

"I started to, when I go out, to double mask," Sette said.

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But is a double mask really necessary?

The efficacy of a mask really boils down to fit and filter. Surgical masks have good filters but don't always fit well — which could alter how effective they are on a face.

But combine a surgical mask with a cloth mask that has a better fit and some studies suggest they then become more than 90% effective at protecting you and others from airborne particles.

Dr. Christian Ramers, with Family Health Centers of San Diego, says while doubling up on face coverings can be an option, he thinks a better choice would be to upgrade your mask.

"We do know that some things really don't work that well, just like a bandana over the face doesn't really do much or a gator we know those things probably don't help much, so just a good quality mask is what I would say. One way to get there is to use two masks," Ramers said.

Ramers said at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a worry about people rushing out to get surgical masks. Now, not so much.

"I'm encouraging people to try to seek out those surgical masks. We were very worried in the beginning that people would rush the stores, and the hospitals wouldn't have enough equipment, but I think we're past that now," he added.