By now, you probably don’t go anywhere without a mask in tow. The COVID-19 pandemic has made wearing a mask out in public the norm. However, now experts are saying that for added safety, TWO masks may work even better than one.

The concept is called “double masking”—perhaps you’ve seen people at the store wearing one mask over the other on their face and have wondered if it actually works. That was in question, until recently.

According to new findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), layering a cloth mask over a surgical mask is likely to work well in protecting others against the virus. How much? A lot! Double masking can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus by more than 95%.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to remember to take two masks with you whenever you leave the house. The CDC is not necessarily implementing new mask recommendations, but letting the public know how to properly protect themselves.

If you don’t have two masks, the study also found that tightening a single surgical mask around the ears to ensure it fits around the face and nose without gaps can also help lower the risk of spread. However, the study also noted that the benefit fell to 80% if only one person wore the double mask and 60% if only one person knotted their surgical mask for a tighter fit.

“The discussion is changing, not the goalposts,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert in response to a question about how many masks a person should wear.

The point of the study is to inform the public of how to properly protect themselves. “We want to communicate to the public that if you want to get more out of that mask, there’s a number of low-tech ways you can improve its performance,” said Dr. John Brooks, chief medical officer for the CDC’s COVID-19 emergency response.

There are many anti-maskers who don’t believe wearing a mask does anything at all—so even though it’s now proven that one and two masks make a difference, mandates will remain that one mask should be the minimum a person wears over their face. “You know what would be a good start?” Fauci asked. “If everybody wears at least one mask. I think that would be important.”

The more you know, right? Layer up those masks—as a bonus, a double mask will also keep you warmer from the winter cold!

Are you surprised by the results of the study? Do you plan to double up on masks, or keep your one?