A US CDC study concludes that double masking (with a cloth mask on top of a medical grade mask) can substantially wearers exposure to COVID-19. With the new variants causing havoc in India, it is prudent to establish this approach when wearing masks, specially when in proximity to another person.
In a report prepared by the Directorate of Health Services, Jammu and Kashmir, double-masking has been recently validated by Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's leading infectious diseases expert. As per the report, the double masking approach can help filter more particles than a singel cloth mask alone.The studies they performed examined two ways of enhancing face-mask use. One is to knot the ear loops of a medical (surgical) mask and tucking in and flattening the material close to the face. The other approach is to double-mask.
How to pair it up
Double-masking up will require wearing a surgical mask and adding a cloth mask over it. Two Surgical Masks are not recommended and neither will two cloth masks make a difference. A single N95 mask, which is the glod standard can seal the face and filter 95% of the particles and will ideally do the job of a double-masking process.
Knotting and Tucking
Knotting up a surgical mask will provide enough cover to make up for double-masking as well. Tie the ear loops close to the edges of the mask and tuck in the side pleats to minimize gaps.
A knotted surgical/medical mask blocks transmission by 56.1%, a cloth mask blocks the transmission by 51.4%, a knotted and tucked mask blocks the transmission by 77% and double masking protects against transmission by 85.4%
Information Source: Directorate of Health Services, Health Secretariat, Srinagar, Kashmir.