Double masking: should it become part of our daily life?

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Story by Leah Ash, Reporter

Photo courtesy of Pexels.com

Recently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has started to recommend that people begin double masking as they go about their daily lives. This advice comes from a research study that analyzed the effectiveness of wearing masks to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. The results from that study showed that any mask is better than no mask, but some modifications lowered transmission even further. The modification that the CDC recommends that people begin to take is double masking or knotting surgical masks in a way that allows them to fit more snugly to the face. They also specify that double masking indicates putting a cloth mask over disposable mask, not wearing two disposable masks. 

Why do these modifications lower the risk of spreading COVID more than just wearing a regular mask? Ultimately, they cause the mask to fit more snugly across the face, allowing no air to escape. 

As a whole, Aquinas should not require students to double mask. Wearing disposable masks everyday is unsustainable–for the environment and the wallet. Buying boxes of disposable masks would be an added expense, one that does not feel necessary when wearing cloth masks. Additionally, throwing the masks out everyday takes a toll on the environment, something Aquinas tries to avoid with its Zero Waste Initiative. The goal of the Zero Waste Initiative is to have “over 90% diversion of waste, such that less than 10% of discards are landfilled/incinerated” (Zero Waste Initiative). Disposable surgical masks are one use, non-recyclable, non-compostable items that will end up burned or in landfills– directly going against the sustainability initiatives on campus.  

For myself, I can see the benefits of having a properly fitted mask. In terms of incorporating double masking into my daily life, I can see potential for it in certain situations. I might start double masking when I go into more crowded places, like the grocery store. However, I think I am more interested in incorporating some of the CDC’s the other modification suggestions into my routine because they are both easy and sustainable. They suggest the people continue to wear multi-layered masks instead of a single layer of cloth, as they are more effective. Additionally, the CDC states that there are reusable mask fitters that can be worn over a mask to cause them to fit snugly on the face. Ultimately the goal is to make sure no air escapes, so people can try different ways of adjusting their masks so that they fit properly.  

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