SAN FRANCISCO—Due to a new strain of COVID-19, experts in the Bay Area are noting they recommend residents either double their masks or upgrade them to have the maximum protection.
Health experts say they are concerned because of the presence of new COVID-19 variants sprouting up around the state of California and the state has slowly distributed COVID vaccines.
MSNBC interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about the new COVID variants. “The [variant] that is of greater concern and that really could be problematic is the mutant that is now dominant in South Africa,” said Dr. Fauci. “We’re already planning and implementing, making a modified version of the vaccine, that would ultimately be able to be directed specifically against the South African isolate, which is the most problematic of them all.”
Dr. Fauci recommended during another interview with “The Today Show” that on NBC that people should wear two masks to prevent COVID strains from spreading. “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. And that’s the reason why you see people either double masking or doing a version of an N95,” Fauci stated.
Experts on the airborne transmission of viruses, Monica Gandhi and Linsey Marr wrote an article about the importance of face masks and whether they recommend wearing two at the same time or upgrading a mask.
According to their article, “Uniting Infectious Disease and Physical Science Principles on the Importance of Face Masks for COVID-19,” face masks could reduce the number of people who need the vaccine because the point of the masks is to reduce exposure, “and, if they become infected, [the masks] decrease the severity of the resultant COVID-19 disease.”
Marr and Gandhi cited a study that concluded masks “reduce infections and disease severity…By reducing inhalation of viral particles by the mask wearer, masks can protect the individual from COVID-19 acquisition or, if acquired, possibly lead to a milder or asymptomatic infection.”
Marr and Gandhi’s conclusion about whether to wear multiple masks align with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) conclusions.
The CDC noted that a single cloth mask can effectively block most large droplets and successfully block the exhalation of fine droplets and particles which can increase in number with one is talking.
Multi-layer cloth masks, the CDC said, can block up to 50-70 percent of these fine droplets and particles and limit the forward spread of those that are not captured. “Upwards of 80% blockage has been achieved in human experiments that have measured blocking of all respiratory droplets, with cloth masks in some studies performing on par with surgical masks as barriers for source control,” the CDC stated.