Should You Wear Two Masks to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19?

The short answer from an infectious disease specialist
woman wearing double masks during pandemic

Q: Is double masking more effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19?

A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal mask wearing as an important way to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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At this time, the CDC recommends wearing a face mask with two to three layers that fits snugly over your face. The CDC recently published new research suggesting that layering a cloth mask over a surgical mask (double masking) when a mask only has one layer, or knotting and tucking a single mask, may improve the fit of masks and provide additional protection from potentially infectious particles.

However, if your mask already has multiple layers and fits tightly, it’s not necessary to double mask.

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we’re continuing to closely monitor the latest scientific evidence and CDC recommendations regarding face masks.

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Studies from the CDC have shown that face masks effectively limit spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, protecting the wearer and those around them. To slow the spread of the virus, it’s important that everyone in the community wear a face mask. It’s also essential to social distance, avoid gatherings and wash your hands frequently. We also recommend taking the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available to you. 

— Infectious disease specialist Steven Gordon, MD

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