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Importance of Double masking as India grapples second wave of Covid-19.

As the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic continues to grapple the country, health professionals and authorities are advising people to adopt double masking. 

Double masking is when you wear one mask on top of another. It helps improve the fit and filtration of your mask. Should you be double masking? and how can you do it correctly?

Using a reference from the 1975 film, Sholay, the Mumbai Police department shared a meme collage, featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra’s characters in Sholay - Jai and Veeru, and a man wearing two masks.

There are a variety of Masks to choose from. 
  • cloth masks
  • surgical masks
  • N95 masks
How do you double mask

Use the proper mask combination. Experts  recommend using a cloth mask over a surgical mask

what combinations to avoid

Some mask combinations may not improve fit or may make it hard to breathe. As such, avoid combinations of the following:
    • two surgical masks
    • a KN95 and any other type of mask
    • an N95 and any other type of mask

Coughing simulation

In the coughing simulation above, researchers evaluated the effectiveness of:

  • a cloth mask alone
  • a surgical mask alone
  • a cloth mask covering a surgical mask (double mask)

Researchers found that when a cough was simulated, the double mask blocked 85.4 percent of the aerosol particles. This is compared to 51.4 percent and 56.1 percent for the cloth and surgical mask, respectively.

Breathing simulation

The breathing simulation investigated several situations using two models of a human head. One of the models generated aerosol particles (source) while the other was exposed to them (recipient).

Researchers found that:

  • When the source was wearing a double mask and the recipient was not, the aerosol exposure of the unmasked recipient was reduced by 82.2 percent.
  • When the recipient was wearing a double mask and the source was not, the aerosol exposure of the double-masked recipient was reduced by 83 percent.
  • When both the source and the recipient wore a double mask, aerosol exposure was reduced by 96.4 percent.

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