CDC now stressing 2nd mask to protect you from exposure to COVID-19

DECATUR, Ga. — For over a year now, health officials have been stressing how important it is to wear a mask to protect yourself from potential exposure to COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took that advice one step further by saying adding a second layer of masking will dramatically improve your chances of avoiding the virus.

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The CDC recommendation said most of their data is based around the fit. They stress wearing at least one tight fitting surgical mask with a metal strip at the top pressed down firmly on your nose. If the mask isn’t tight enough, they say you can add a knot on the side strap to make it tighter.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said a cloth mask on top of the surgical mask will add the extra layer of protection.

“The science is clear. Everyone needs to be wearing a mask. In the breathing experiment, having both the source and the receiver wear masks modified to fit better, reduce the receivers exposure by more than 95% compared to no mask at all,” Walensky said.

The CDC said if worn correctly and by people you are around or near, the masks will almost always prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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Channel 2 Anchor Justin Wilfon spoke with Dr. Jesse Couk an infectious disease physician at Piedmont Healthcare who explained how the CDC’s suggestion of using a tight fitting surgical mask with a cloth mask in front of it would work.

“Fit can be improved by forcing it up against my face with another mask. A cloth mask like this one and put it right over there. It also has this slip knot that you can move up and down” Couk said.

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The CDC recommendations say no matter what kind of mask you wear, the single most important thing you can do is make sure it fits, tightly.

“I hope people don’t see this and think, oh this is just another thing that I have to do. I think this should be empowering and if anything it just conveys the importance of us all wearing a mask,” Couk said.

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Wilfon also spoke with Huckleberry Starnes, who makes masks in his Decatur home. The masks feature two layers and have their own tightening features.

“We were very encouraged to hear that the CDC was getting back out in front and leading and telling everyone that masks are still important,” Starnes said.

Starnes made his 2,000th mask just last week and feels the CDC’s latest guidance makes him feel better about what he’s doing and why he is doing it.

“And frankly I enjoy wearing a mask. I think they’re fun. It’s not a problem. It’s an easy thing to do,” Starnes said.