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Are two masks better than one?

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 1/26/2021 Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY
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The battle against COVID-19 isn’t over: The world set another record for COVID-19 deaths in a week, and just surpassed 100 million cases.  

It's Ashley, and I'm ready to talk news (through two masks). Let's do this.

But first, some good news: A New Jersey woman beat COVID-19, then turned 110. To make her more impressive, she also lived through the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wears two protective masks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on Nov. 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. © Tasos Katopodis, Getty Images Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wears two protective masks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on Nov. 19, 2020 in Washington, DC.

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Double masking 'just makes common sense,' Fauci says

They say two heads are better than one, but can the same be said for masks? According to the nation’s top infectious disease expert, the answer is yes, Adrianna Rodriguez reports. “If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective," Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC News’ "TODAY." A study from July found that wearing two masks could increase protection from virus particles by 50% up to 75%. It also makes masks fit more snugly around the face, said study author Dr. Loretta Fernandez. Americans’ renewed interest in double masking also comes as variants that appear to be more contagious emerge from the U.K, South Africa, Brazil and California.

Peter Buttigieg wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg removes his two protective face masks to speak during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington. © Pool photo by Ken Cedeno Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg removes his two protective face masks to speak during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington.

What everyone’s talking about

1 dead, 30 injured after tornado rips through Alabama

Residents of Fultondale, Alabama, were picking up the pieces Tuesday after a devastating tornado ripped through the town the night before, killing a 14-year-old student huddled in his basement and leaving at least 30 people injured. Several of the teen's family members were critically injured when a tree fell on the home and caused the house to collapse. The tornado left a 10-mile swath of destruction Monday night in Jefferson County and unleashed extensive damage, AccuWeather said.

a truck on a city street: A Hampton Inn hotel is severely damaged after a tornado tore through Fultondale, Ala., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. © Alicia Elliott, AP A Hampton Inn hotel is severely damaged after a tornado tore through Fultondale, Ala., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.

'This is historic snow'

A historic snowstorm continued to hit portions of the central and northeastern U.S. on Tuesday, causing travel headaches and closing some coronavirus testing sites. Weather forecasters said 10 to 15 inches of snow was likely between York, Nebraska, and Des Moines, Iowa, by the time the storm wraps up later Tuesday — the most its snowed in that area in at least 15 years. More than 14 inches had already fallen in parts of Nebraska by the morning. In the Southwest, a separate storm was forecast to bring wind gusts and snowfall on Tuesday, especially in portions of Arizona and Utah. And that's not all: Yet another storm was forecast to barrel into California later Tuesday into Wednesday, the weather service said.

a dog that is standing in the snow: Joe Mulstay takes Chance, a 3 year old boxer bulldog, for a walk in the snow as blizzard conditions blanket Court Avenue in Des Moines Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. © Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register Joe Mulstay takes Chance, a 3 year old boxer bulldog, for a walk in the snow as blizzard conditions blanket Court Avenue in Des Moines Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.

Real quick 

Introducing Antony Blinken, Biden's secretary of State

The Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Antony Blinken to be the nation’s 71st secretary of State on Tuesday, as lawmakers scrambled to approve President Joe Biden's Cabinet nominees before impeachment proceedings begin. Blinken, who has worked with Biden on foreign policy for roughly two decades, was confirmed by a relatively bipartisan majority 78 to 22 vote. That’s particularly notable given that President Donald Trump's two nominees for secretary of State were confirmed by relatively narrow margins. Blinken will become America’s top diplomat as the world confronts a confluence of threats: the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and a great-power competition that increasingly pits the U.S. against China on trade, technology and other issues.

Tony Blinken wearing a suit and tie: Antony Blinken testifies during his confirmation hearing to become secretary of state before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington on Jan. 19. © Pool photo by Alex Edelman Antony Blinken testifies during his confirmation hearing to become secretary of state before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington on Jan. 19.

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