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Fight against coronavirus: is wearing 2 masks more effective?

Fight against coronavirus: is wearing 2 masks more effective?
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Only a short while ago, the idea of wearing a mask seemed almost eccentric to us, a few months later some people began to wear a "double mask", that is, two masks on top of each other.

Celebrities are starting to show off like this and the idea is increasingly circulating among the population. The supporters of the double-mask justify their decision by the arrival of new variants of Covid-19, which are much more contagious.

However, this new idea is not unanimous among experts. Is it really useful to put two masks on top of each other?

According to Benoît Barbeau, a professor in the department of biological sciences at UQAM and expert in virology, “It limits the spread of the virus, quite simply because there are more barriers that prevent the droplets from coming into contact with a person near. It is not a measure that should be contraindicated. "

In the United States, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said some time ago to be in agreement with this process. Wearing a double mask may soon be recommended by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, there is currently no scientific documentation to support the wearing of two masks.

Professor Maximilien Debia, from the School of Public Health at the University of Montreal, has been interested in wearing a mask since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to him, "We can certainly think, with the concepts that we know, that if a mask does not have good filtering properties, it could increase this barrier property".


On the other hand, this additional protection may also pose a non-negligible drawback, in terms of “breathability”.

“If we add barriers, we can reduce breathability. It’s something you test in masks. If the air does not pass through the mask, it passes through the sides. By reducing breathability, we could have leaks, ”thinks Professor Debia.

At UQAM, Benoit Barbeau agrees. He reiterates the importance of the mask's tightness, which must be maintained.

He explains: “If the second mask prevents the first from being waterproof, you are in a situation where you will undermine the protective effect of the masks. The mask protects us as long as we have appropriate behavior and procedure. Tightness is an essential point ".

When it comes to aerosol control, wearing two masks does not provide the same level of protection as a surgical mask. In addition, wearing a face cover or two should not make us forget to practice other barrier gestures, such as physical distancing and limiting exposure time.

So two homemade masks one on top of the other do not offer the same protection as a good quality mask.

“Beyond having two poor quality masks, it is having this good quality mask in the situations that concern us, in places where people will stay in poorly ventilated areas for long periods of time. », Mentioned Mr. Debia.

The Department of Health and Human Services is not currently issuing any advice on wearing the double-mask, recommending the wearing of medical masks instead.

Are you wearing a mask everything you step out of the house?

Source: Métro · Photo Credit: Facebook

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