What? One Mask is Not Enough? Here’s What Experts Are Saying

According to The New York Times, a mask might not be enough, but two might, possibly, maybe. Basically, nobody actually knows, but they’re pushing it all the same, probably for some reason that conservatives aren’t smart enough to understand.

“Football coaches do it. President-elect’s do it. Even science-savvy senators do it. As cases of the coronavirus continue to surge on a global scale, some of the nation’s most prominent people have begun to double up on masks — a move that researchers say is increasingly being backed up by data.” Such was the opening statement in a New York Times article titled “One Mask Is Good. Would Two Be Better?”

“Double-masking isn’t necessary for everyone. But for people with thin or flimsy face coverings, ‘if you combine multiple layers, you start achieving pretty high efficiencies’ of blocking viruses from exiting and entering the airway, said Linsey Marr, an expert in virus transmission at Virginia Tech and an author on a recent commentary laying out the science behind mask-wearing,” the Times’ Katherine J. Wu went on.

The reporter cited  Linsey Marr, an expert in virus transmission at Virginia Tech who said that “if you combine multiple layers, you start achieving pretty high efficiencies” of blocking viruses from exiting and entering the airway” going on to say that there’s a “trade-off.” At some point “we run the risk of making it too hard to breathe,” she said.

The Times did bequeath Americans with some hope on the stifling issue of masks. “Americans will not need to be wearing masks forever,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, with a statement that seemed to throw reluctant mask wearers a one-line bone.

According to The Daily Wire’s report, the CDC says COVID-19 spreads “mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets. Respiratory droplets travel into the air when you cough, sneeze, talk, shout or sing. These droplets can then land in the mouths or noses of people who are near you or they may breathe these droplets in.”

The federal agency now says that “a cloth mask also offers some protection to you too. How well it protects you from breathing in the virus likely depends on the fabrics used and how your mask is made (e.g. the type of fabric, the number of layers of fabric, how well the mask fits). CDC is currently studying these factors” going on to clarify that more evaluation is needed.

However,  the agency declares that “studies demonstrate that cloth mask materials can also reduce wearers’ exposure to infectious droplets through filtration, including filtration of fine droplets and particles less than 10 microns. The relative filtration effectiveness of various masks has varied widely across studies, in large part due to variation in experimental design and particle sizes analyzed.”

Essentially, the information from any side is far from conclusive, and while masks can be required by businesses, government agencies’ ability to mandate them still seems to be highly suspect. According to the Times, and something that is agreed by most, N95 masks remain the gold standard, filtering out 95% of particles and droplets, the publication advocates, “layering two less specialized masks on top of each other can provide comparable protection.”

“Dr. Marr recommended wearing face-hugging cloth masks over surgical masks, which tend to be made with more filter-friendly materials but fit more loosely. An alternative is to wear a cloth mask with a pocket that can be stuffed with filter material, like the kind found in vacuum bags. But wearing more than two masks, or layering up on masks that are already very good at filtering, will quickly bring diminishing returns and make it much harder to breathe normally,” the paper writes.

Will two masks become part of the mandates? Will the type of face-covering be the next hurdle the government tries to take on? Are they allowed to mandate masks at all? These are the questions Americans are asking, and the government would do well to remember these are the questions history will demand they answer.