(NEXSTAR) – As the coronavirus continues to cut a steady path across the U.S., some are wondering what they can do to protect themselves from the virus and variants, in addition to standard protocol.
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top public health expert, doubling up on masks may help.
When asked by the “Today” show‘s Savannah Guthrie whether wearing two masks could help slow transmission, Fauci replied: “It likely does because this is a physical covering to prevent droplets and virus to get in. If you have a physical covering with one layer and you put another layer on it, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective.”
Fauci isn’t the only physician to suggest wearing two masks.
“A mask is like an obstacle course for particles to get through,” Linsey Marr, an expert in virus transmission and a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, told AARP. “Adding a second mask adds another obstacle course, increasing the chance that the particle will be trapped before it gets through to the other side.”
Marr told the New York Times that layering two masks on top of one another can provide “comparable protection” to wearing an N95 mask. One could also wear a cloth mask with a filter material inside.
But don’t overdo it: Wearing too many masks with too many layers can inhibit ease of breathing.
More than 25 million people in the U.S. have been infected with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Nearly 420,000 people have died.