By now we all know what to do to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing has become the norm. Zoom gatherings are more common than socializing in person. We wash and sanitize our hands more often than ever before. We have multiple face masks washed and ready to go.

But wait; there’s a new recommendation. Health experts are now saying that it’s a good idea to wear not one but two face masks. Double masking can potentially add an additional layer (literally) of protection against COVID-19.

Dr. Manoj Jain is an infectious disease specialist in Memphis, Tennessee, and he recommends wearing a disposable surgical mask with a reusable cloth face mask over it.

One reason Jain believes double masking is a good idea is that it can help prevent any gaps between the wearer’s face and the mask, gaps that could give the opportunity for the virus to enter or escape.

Now that there are new variants of COVID-19, Jain believes it is especially important to do everything we can to protect ourselves from COVID-19, and that includes wearing face masks correctly. He explained, “We’ve got to do everything we can to maintain this virus at its minimum activity.” 

Dr. Fauci agrees that double masking is a pretty common sense idea. He told TODAY, “If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective.”

There have been multiple studies that show that face masks are effective, but there has not been as much research about wearing two masks. Still, it seems to make sense that if one mask is good, two masks would be even better, and there has been some research that indicates double masking really does make a big difference.

In July, a study about double masking was published in the journal Matter. The study’s author, Dr. Loretta Fernandez, explained the study’s findings saying, “We found that the particle removal efficiency of many surgical style masks could be improved by up to 50% by simply snugging the mask material to the face. In the lab, we did this by adding a nylon stocking, but also tested other elastic layers such as gators and tights and found that they also solved the problem of cutting off air leaking in from around the mask.”

For more about this new advice to wear not one but two face masks, and to learn what else you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19, watch the video below.

Have you ever worn two face masks before? Are you going to start wearing two masks? Are you going to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you?