Wearing two masks instead of one is better at preventing the spread of COVID-19, US researchers have found.
A team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that doubling up on face protection blocks up to 92.5% of coronavirus particles.
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But, despite these new findings officials have stopped short at recommending people start wearing two face coverings at the same time.
Instead, the organisation has noted that other methods, such as tying up the strings of a surgical mask to ensure it fits better, could also help in stopping the spread.
They have also said that children should be wearing masks when out in public, a rule that has not been adopted in the UK as Public Health England recommends under 11s do not need one.
CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky said: “These experimental data reinforce CDC’s prior guidance that everyone 2 years of age or older should wear a mask when in public and around others in the home not living with you.
“We continue to recommend that masks should have two or more layers, completely cover your nose and mouth, and fit snugly against your nose and the sides of your face.”
Dr Walensky said the CDC report was not meant to provide the public with formal recommendations, but to merely add to the current mask-wearing guidance.
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CDC´s Dr John Brooks added: “The first challenge is to get as many as people as possible masking. And then for those that do mask, to help them get the best benefit out of that mask.”
The CDC trial did have some limitations though, as the research team did not look at men with beards and facial hair and children who have smaller faces.
In the UK, face coverings must be worn in most public indoor space unless someone is exempt on medical grounds.