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Dr. Fauci Just Said if You Should Double Mask

Are two masks better than one? Here’s what Fauci thinks.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Over the last few weeks, double masking—wearing one mask layered over another—has become a hot health topic, primarily due to the introduction of new, more transmissible COVID-19 variants. But just how effective is the tactic in preventing the spread of the virus? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared last night on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer revealing whether or not you need to layer up your protective face coverings. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci Said Wear a Mask, Period—but Two Can't Hurt

"Here's another question we're getting when it comes to masks and all of us should be wearing masks when we're outside, especially when we're with other people. You say, step one is just making sure people wear a mask, but with these more transmissible variants on the rise right now, should people be making the change to more effective mass, whether that's doubled masking or using that N95?" Blitzer asked Dr. Fauci. 

Fauci responded by confirming that mask efficacy is currently being studied by governmental health experts. "Right now, the CDC is really going to be looking at the data on the differences in masks, whether you do a KN95 or a cloth mask versus surgical mask, the kinds of information that you want to have," he confirmed. "We have some of that information already. We know that the standard surgical mask for the most part is better than a cloth mask, but it depends on the cloth mask." 

As for "Should you wear two masks," which is the hot question right now, he said there is no hard data, but you can assume it is effective. While "the most important thing is everybody should wear a mask" and the CDC is currently collecting data on double masking, "if you use common sense and say, until we get the data, if a physical barrier with one mask works, it makes common sense that two layers or three layers—and you should have a double layer mask in one mask anyway—but if you want to put an extra mask on, there's nothing wrong with that," he said. "We can't formally recommend it because we don't have the science behind it. But I would not hesitate to tell someone if they want to wear two masks."

Need proof? Fauci himself is a double masker. "You may have seen me with two masks on," he pointed out. "And the reason I do is that when you put a surgical mask on, if you put a cloth mask over it, it gives a much smoother fit in the sense of being tight, but not too tight. So again, although we're not recommending it until we get data, there's nothing wrong with doing."

Currently, the CDC formally recommends wearing masks that have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric, completely cover your nose and mouth, and fit snugly against the sides of your face and don't have gaps.

RELATED: If You Feel This, You May Have Already Had COVID, Says Dr. Fauci

How to Stay Safe During the Pandemic

Follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask (or two), social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.