Double masking not necessary
– Health Minister
Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony says while there may be added benefit in double masking in some instances, it is not necessary.
The Minister made these statements during his daily COVID-19 update on Friday.
Dr. Anthony said first, it is important to determine the effectiveness of the types of masks being worn. Since the start of the pandemic, three types of masks are being used: cloth, surgical and N95.
The surgical mask fits most people well and prevents the wearer from spreading infection. The N95 mask on the other hand, prevents at least 95 per cent of the particles from getting in, protecting the wearer.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for you to add another mask over the N95 because although it looks thin, it already has five layers. It says N95 which means at least 95 per cent of the particles would be prevented from getting in or out. In some cases, the efficiency of these masks are much higher as they can prevent as much as 98 per cent of the particles from getting in,” the Minister said.
The effectiveness of cloth masks is generally lower than that of medical grade masks. However, if they are designed correctly and worn correctly, they will provide some protection for the wearer.
The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised that cloth masks should have multiple layers, should be made of water-resistant fabric with a high number of threads and finer weave, and designed to fit around the face.
Recently, the CDC commissioned a study to determine the effectiveness of double masking.
Minister Anthony said double masking using a cloth mask over a surgical one may provide added protection.
“When we talk of double masking, it is not to use the medical types of masks, but perhaps to more use the cloth mask, and maybe add a surgical mask on to that or below it. So, if you use a surgical mask first and maybe add the cloth mask, I can see the value because the surgical mask would certainly prevent smaller particles from getting into the person’s respiratory system,” he said. Persons are reminded to continue to wear masks in public spaces, to practice social distancing and good hand hygiene to curb transmission of Covid.