Is Two Better Than One? The Latest 411 on Masks‌

On Feb. 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the results of a study that examined aerosol spread between mannequin heads wearing masks. The study results further confirmed that wearing a well-fitting mask can significantly reduce (by about 95%) the risk of coronavirus exposure.

The CDC also provided tips for having a well-fitting mask and noted that double-masking may be helpful to improve fit, but is not necessary for all. Here are some of the CDC's guidelines:

Masks should:

  • Completely cover the nose and mouth
  • Fit snugly against the sides of the face and not have any gaps
  • Be handled only by the ear loops, cords or head straps (not by the surface of the mask)

Masks should be worn:

  • Any time you are in a public setting
  • Any time you are traveling on a plane, bus, train or other form of public transportation traveling into, within or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations
  • When you are around people who do not live with you, including inside your home or inside someone else’s home
  • Inside your home if someone you live with is sick with symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19

Masks should not be worn:

  • By a child under 2 years of age
  • By someone with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, for reasons related to the disability
  • In a situation when wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the workplace risk assessment.

Masks should be washed regularly to keep them clean. The CDC offers this practical advice for storing and washing masks.