Twice the protection? Expert at UK reacts to double mask study.

Posted at 7:16 PM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 19:16:11-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Experts firmly believe that the spread of coronavirus would actually be much worse than it has been if not for the decision last spring to either suggest, or enforce mask wearing.

“I think all you have to do is look at countries or communities where mask wearing has been the norm and you can see they’ve been more successful in decreasing virus transmission,” said Dr. Craig Martin from the University of Kentucky’s College of Pharmacy.

LEX 18 spoke to Dr. Martin after looking over a report that suggested wearing two masks might make an even greater impact on reducing transmission.

“The purpose of wearing a multi-layered mask, or more than one mask, is to give the air sort of a circuitous route to your airway, and makes it less likely to carry those (infected) particles with it,” Dr. Martin explained.

But as NPR (National Pubic Radio) discussed as part of the study, wearing that extra layer can have adverse effects, if not the opposite effect of the desired result.

“As long as the person can breathe and isn’t manipulating the mask as you mentioned, and moving it down, etc,” Dr. Martin said.

Because once you adjust those two masks, you’ve effectively eliminated the efficacy of them both. And if you’re someone with a chronic breathing condition, you could really put yourself at risk.

“That’s why I would never stack on four or five masks, because I don’t think you can breathe well that way,” Dr. Martin added.

Martin added that a adding second layer of protection is certainly worth considering so long your breathing isn’t impacted, and you’re committed to putting both on, and leaving both on for as long as you’re in close contact with others.

“There’s plenty of evidence to suggest more layers are better than nothing,” Martin said.