INDIANAPOLIS – As new coronavirus variants spread, some health experts suggest using two masks could be better than one and like many things during the pandemic, there are differing opinions.
A recent News 8 Twitter poll shows 76% of those who responded voted “no” to wearing two masks while 23% voted “yes.”
Gina Logan, from Columbus, is one of those who voted “yes” and says she started double masking three weeks ago wearing first a cloth mask that has three layers and then the disposable mask with the fitted metal.
“I try to follow what the public health experts recommend and once they started talking about the variants and suggesting double masking, I started doing it,” said Logan, who says she wears her masks to work and doesn’t remove them all day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does recommend having two or more layers of washable breathable fabric which, to some, can seem like a vague description.
Dr. Christopher Belcher is the medical director of Infection Prevention at Ascension St. Vincent in Indianapolis and says when it comes to a mask, it’s the layers and the fit that matter most. Too loose and droplets can make their way in, but too many and it could become harder to breathe.
“If it gets harder to breathe because you keep putting layers on the front of the mask it’s going to get harder for air to go through the filter and instead it will leak around the sides and you will suck in air around the nose or sides and that’s bad,” said Dr. Belcher.
For Logan, wearing two masks may make it slightly harder to breathe, but she says it’s worth it.
“It’s a little harder, I guess but a small thing to keep me and my husband safe,” said Logan.
Still, Dr. Belcher says there are so many variables to masks that he isn’t convinced everyone needs to double up.
“If you have a multi-layer mask that’s comfortable, great but if you only have a single layer mask or you’re in a crowded area, it makes sense that two would be better than one,” he adds.
As for Logan, she finds that wearing two masks helps the bottom layer stay on better which gives her peace of mind.
Whether you choose to double mask or not, Dr. Belcher says wearing one is better than not wearing any at all.