This article will explore the truth surrounding masks and look into how the new COVID variants may require us to double up on masks for protection or even wear masks outside.
What do we know about masks so far?
Masks provide a protective barrier to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus through respiratory droplets from speaking, coughing, or sneezing. Cloth masks are very effective, but it is said that masks with less than two layers are less effective.
Studies show that N95 respirators and re-wearable respirators like those produced by O2 Industries offer the most protection from the coronavirus. Healthline suggests that following the simple ABCs of prevention Airway (barrier protection), Bubble (keep your circle small), and Contacts (contact tracing app if someone in your bubble is affected) can help you stay safe. Currently, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and remaining a healthy 6 feet apart from people not in your immediate household is the most effective way to stay clear of the coronavirus.
However, more and more studies are being done that suggest the introduction of new variations of the virus may require different precautions.
Will New Covid-19 Variants Affect the Effectiveness of Masks?
Wearing a mask will always be the most effective way to stop the spread, but will one be enough? According to the CDC, viruses constantly change through mutation, and over time different variants of the virus are formed. Multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2 that cause Covid-19 have been reported globally throughout the pandemic and are said to be more infectious, which may change the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccines. People are beginning to suggest wearing masks outside as well.
So how do we stay protected? Health experts are beginning to promote double or even triple masking to prevent the spread of the new variants of the virus.
What is Double Masking?
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, double masking or wearing two or even three masks provides an extra layer of protection to those around you and yourself by preventing the transmission of respiratory droplets. Some people are concerned about the discomfort of wearing two masks and how it may affect their breathing.
However, experts suggest that although it may be uncomfortable at first, it should not impede oxygen consumption or the dispelling of carbon dioxide from the body. What is the best way to double mask? The best combination of double masking is to use one surgical mask underneath a cloth mask for three to four layers of protection.
This provides protection and allows the surgical mask to become more form-fitting to the face, preventing the virus’s potential transmission.
Will We have to Wear Masks Forever?
Yes, absolutely. Just kidding, nobody really knows when the spread of the coronavirus will come to an end. We know that wearing masks right now is the best way to keep yourself and others around you protected. Maybe if everyone started wearing two masks, the spread would begin to decrease even faster. I am just as anxious as everyone else to get back to normal and am willing to try anything to get us there faster.