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Here’s what you need to know about double-masking

Experts are talking about double-masking. Should you do it?

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In this Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, file photo, a state legislator adjusts her face masks while asking a question at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss. States across the U.S. are changing their mask mandates. This will be a running list of changes to mandates and orders.

In this Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, file photo, a state legislator adjusts her face masks while asking a question at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss.

Rogelio V. Solis, Associated Press

Federal officials have urged Americans to keep wearing masks and do what they need to in order to make them fit tighter — and that might include double-masking.

What’s going on?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidelines that include wearing tight-fitting face masks — or even two masks at once — to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

  • The CDC recommends Americans pick masks with a nose wire so they can be adjusted to fit tightly. People should use mask fitters or a brace to seal off their masks, too.

Two key things

  • The CDC said you shouldn’t combine two disposable masks if you’re going to double up. Neither are designed to fit tightly so it wouldn’t help, according to the CDC.
  • People also should not combine a KN95 mask with any other masks. Only one should be used at a time.

What do experts say?

Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has asked Americans to wear a “well-fitting mask,” according to The New York Times.

  • “With cases, hospitalizations and deaths still very high, now is not the time to roll back mask requirements,” she said. “The bottom line is this: Masks work, and they work when they have a good fit and are worn correctly.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently told the “Today” show that the recommendation isn’t to wear two masks — it’s to wear one mask.

  • “The recommendation is not that you have to wear it. What the CDC is saying is at minimum, wear a mask.”
  •  “One mask at least, but if you want to really be sure, get a tighter fit with the second mask.”
  • “I have used it occasionally. The fit is better if you put a surgical mask on and put a cloth mask over.”