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February 5, 2021

Whenever I step out the door, I automatically grab one of several masks hanging like necklaces from my favorite mask chains. Which one should I wear this time -- double-ply cotton or the KN95? If cloth, what color and pattern suits my mood? This ritual is as second nature as locking the door behind me. But now there’s another layer to remember. Literally.

With the quick rise in cases of new and highly-transmissible variants of Covid-19, health experts are stressing double protection by wearing two masks – or upgrading to K95 or KN95 masks that don’t require a second layer. Word has certainly gotten around because just about everyone I see when I’m out and about are already heeding the advice.

But double masking must be done correctly in order to be effective – like wearing a hat protects your face from the direct line of harmful UV rays, staying in the shade pretty much does the trick.

One mask is a filter, explains Dr. Anita Gupta at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Wearing a mask is better than no mask. And if you put a second mask on over the first, it will increase the strength of the filter and help prevent the virus from entering your airway.

In addition to double protection, two masks help by providing a more secure fit, which I realized right away. And the World Health Organization says that the best first layer is an absorbent fabric like cotton topped with a middle layer of non-absorbent polypropylene, and a polyester outer layer.

So, to double-mask or not is the question. No, it’s the answer – until we’re all safely protected by the vaccine.

This is your country, and it’s up to you to save it.” – English translation of a saying in Taiwan

Washing Hands + Wearing a Mask + Social Distancing = Saving Lives

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