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Wearing double masks to crowded places keep Covid-19 away, say experts

Did you look twice at the man with two masks on at the neighbourhood market? And later found a few more like him? As the second Covid-19 wave lashes the country, many are going for the double-mask approach to keep the virus away, with experts saying its “advisable” and an “established way to stop transmission”. “One can wear a surgical mask and a cloth mask or two cloth masks. However, with N95 masks, doubling is not needed,” says Dr Rommel Tickoo, director, internal medicine department at Delhi’s Max Saket. “A double mask is advisable when a person is going to crowded places where social distancing is not possible,” he says. Many masks don’t fit perfectly on the face. Wearing double masks reduces the risk of droplets from an infected person escaping through the sides while breathing in and out, say experts. The double-masking recommendation is based on a study conducted by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC conducted experiments to assess two ways of improving the fit of medical procedure masks — fitting a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask, and knotting the ear loops of a medical procedure mask and then tucking in and flattening the extra material close to the face. Each modification substantially improved source control and reduced wearer exposure, it found.

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