The good news: “Americans will not need to be wearing masks forever,” infectious disease physician Monica Gandhi tells the New York Times. But until maskless days come again, some experts are recommending double-masking to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. “If you combine layers, you start achieving pretty high efficiencies,” virus transmission expert Linsey Marr tells the Times. Studies have shown a correlation between wearing masks and lowering COVID-19 transmission rates because they impede virus-laden spittle.
“The air has to follow this tortuous path. The big things it’s carrying are not going to be able to follow those twists and turns” of the fabric, Marr says. Layering two masks, such as a cloth mask over a surgical mask, can provide protection on par with that from a N95 mask, she adds. There are some drawbacks to wearing multiple masks, per NPR. For one, adding too many layers can make it hard to breathe. And, you may be tempted to adjust your masks more often, increasing the chances of introducing viral particles to your mask. (Read more COVID-19 stories.)