Opinion: Everyone should double mask

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidelines recently, recommending individuals consider wearing a medical-grade mask underneath a cloth mask, also called “double masking,” as a more effective way to reduce exposure to COVID-19.  

It is no secret many people are not huge fans of double masking, or even masking in general. However, double masking may be the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and returning to normalcy. 

According to the CDC, “The effectiveness of cloth and medical procedure masks can be improved by ensuring that they are well fitted to the contours of the face to prevent leakage of air around the masks’ edges.” Laboratory-based experiments proved this strategy to decrease the risk of contracting the virus by approximately 95%. 

An additional series of experiments undergone through the CDC confirmed regular, unknotted medical masks blocked 56.1% of cough particles, cloth masks blocked 51.4% and the combination of both blocked over 85.4%. 

“Do I like them? No, but using one has become second nature,” said Charles St. Amand, Suffolk University journalism professor, and adviser to The Suffolk Journal. “I think most people have gotten over the awkwardness, in the interest of safety.” 

While this may be true for the majority of the population, there are still a few groups of people who refuse to wear masks and do not understand how much that simple act can help all return to their normal lives, before the pandemic. 

Double masking is a new concept that many have started to participate in. 

“I recently started double masking, as COVID-19 variants emerged. I use my university-issued cotton mask plus a Suffolk Ram mask I bought in support of the Suffolk CARES Pantry,” said St. Amand.  “I double up when I go to the supermarket or any other store, when I stop for gas and when I get into Boston and on campus. I use the single mask in the classroom so students can hear me OK — while social distancing, of course.” 

Many people focus more on the fact that masks are uncomfortable or inconvenient without simply accepting the reality they are protecting you and others from COVID-19. If more people wore a double mask, the number of new positive cases would most likely fall more rapidly. 

Yes. It’s all about not breathing in COVID-19 particles, and if you double up, it must decrease the likelihood of infection in some way,” said St. Amand. 

With hope for normalcy, individuals should be double masking to try and limit the most number of cases possible until the general public gains access to the vaccine. 

Coming from a family with high risk individuals, I myself am going to be trying out double masking in an effort to protect them and others from COVID-19. 

It has become second nature to wear a mask and I think that people should be more considerate towards others and not just complain about the inconvenience of single or double masking. I know it is annoying but at the end of the day, we are in a pandemic. 

The people who choose to not wear a mask are being incredibly selfish and now with the double masking idea coming into play, it makes them look very uneducated. 

We need to take initiative and stop the spread so we all can go back to living our lives the way we were before COVID. The sad truth is, life probably won’t be the same. There could be masks around forever, at least for those who choose to wear them.

I for one will come out of this pandemic being more of a germaphobe and I am sure others feel the same. While the requirements of this pandemic aren’t the most fun, I think we all need to think about the greater good. The sooner we all do that, the sooner we can go back to normalcy.