The latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asks all of us to tighten our masks or consider wearing two masks to better protect us from the coronavirus. The guidance reports you can wear a cloth mask over a disposable surgical mask or improve the fit of a single surgical mask by knotting the ear loops and tucking in the sides close to your face to get a closer fit.
Both of these suggestions reduce your risk of being exposed to infection by as much as 96.5%.
The CDC also warns that wearing a mask around people you don’t live with, or when someone in your home is sick, is even more important now because of the new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus.
Even though the average number of new coronavirus cases in the United States is down 36 percent from two weeks ago, now is not the time to let down your guard in the fight against the virus. As new variants of the virus spread, they could threaten any progress made in the country’s battle against COVID-19.
HOW TO WEAR YOUR MASK CORRECTLY When wearing a mask, make sure you can see and breathe easily. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you are wearing your mask correctly:
- Not all masks provide the same protection. When choosing a mask, look at how well it fits, how well it filters the air, and how many layers it has.
- Wear layers of material. Either use a cloth mask with multiple layers of fabric or wear a disposable mask under a cloth mask. The second mask should push the edges of the inner mask against your face.
- Make sure your mask fits snugly against your face. Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask.
- Choose a mask with a nose wire, a metal strip along the top of the mask. Bend the nose wire over your nose to fit close to your face.
- Check that the mask is snug over your nose, mouth, and chin. Check for gaps by cupping your hands around the outside edges of the mask. Make sure no air is flowing from the area near your eyes or from the sides of the mask. If the mask has a good fit, you will feel warm air come through the front of the mask and may be able to see the mask material move in and out with each breath.
- Knot and tuck ear loops of a 3-ply mask. Visit here for video instructions.
- Don’t combine two disposable masks.
- Don’t combine a KN95 mask with any other mask.
TRAVELERS MUST WEAR MASKS The CDC has issued an order requiring face masks be worn by all travelers and operators while on public transportation. Masks must cover both the mouth and nose while awaiting, boarding, disembarking, or traveling on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares as they are travel. People must also wear masks while at places such as airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations, seaports and other locations where people board public transportation. The only people exempt from this new order are children under age 2, people with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or people for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to their workplace safety.
You can visit here for the complete CDC guidance on wearing masks.