If you watched or caught up with any of the news of the recent presidential inauguration, you may have noticed something. No, not the incredible colour-blocked outfits, or that Michelle Obama looked absolutely fire (but I hope you did notice that). What you may have noticed is, that numerous people – including inaugural poet Amanda Gorman – were double masking.
So what is double masking, and why are people doing it?
Well, as the name suggests, double masking is the practice of wearing two masks instead of one. More specifically, it’s wearing a double-layer fabric mask on top of a medical-grade mask. The surgical mask goes on first as it fits more snugly on the face, whilst the fabric mask keeps the surgical one clean and dry.
Dr Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases director — and a man who looks infinitely happier to be working under Biden — says that doubling up on masks “likely does” do a better job of blocking these new variants, and that “it just makes common sense that it would be more effective.”
Speaking to New York Magazine, Dr Purvi Parikh, an immunologist with NYU Langone Health, said “The more layers you have that increase the ply or the filtration of a mask, the better.” Why? “Because you’re blocking more particles and droplets.”
Another thing people should look at doing as the new variants seem to be spreading across the globe? Increase social distancing. Parikh advised that there’s been evidence that the virus can spread “at ten or 12 feet,” depending on the size of the droplets.
There seems to be no official word on double-masking yet here in Australia – in fact, in NSW, mask rules have eased slightly. In the meantime, here’s a roundup of some of our favourite reusable face masks: