SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Experts say viruses constantly change through mutation. But now the question is being asked, “Does double-masking make a difference?” as more is known about masking and new variations are discovered.
The Utah Department of Health said they’ve identified two cases of the United Kingdom mutation in Utah, but as of Tuesday, they have not found South Africa or Brazil variant here.
When it comes to preventing the spread of the virus, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said double-masking is likely more effective than one.
“Like Dr. Fauci was mentioning is maybe you think about wearing say like a surgical mask – which has multiple layers – and then maybe then you can cover it with a face covering on top of that,” said Dr. Todd Vento, an Intermountain Healthcare infectious diseases physician.
Following Fauci’s announcement, ABC4 News reached out to local experts who said double-masking adds an additional layer of protection.
“Every layer you have is just going to increase the filtration. How many virus particles that float towards your face get stuck on the mask basically and don’t make it into your respiratory tract,” said Stephen Goldstein, a University of Utah post-doctoral research associate in genetics.
“All you’re trying to do is create like an obstacle course for these aerosols that come out of your mouth that actually get through the filters,” Vento said.
While they said two masks are better than one, it can depend on where you’re at.
“If you’re going somewhere that’s indoors and there’s a reasonable number of people, I would definitely think wearing double masks and wearing the best mask you can,” Goldstein said.
“You can be the judge of that. If you’re out jogging and there’s no one else around, then you don’t have to put a mask on unless you want to use that mask for air pollution,” Vento said.
As Utahns continue to protect themselves against COVID-19, experts also said people should make sure they are social distancing and practicing good hygiene.
ABC4 News reached out to the Utah Department of Health about double-masking. A spokesperson said it has not yet been discussed.