CDC says double masking significantly reduces coronavirus exposure

No statewide recommendation changes expected, governor’s office says

New Orleans Mask
Visitors walk past face mask signs along Decatur Street in the French Quarter on July 14, 2020 in New Orleans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

New CDC research suggests that double masking and wearing a tightly fitted mask significantly reduces coronavirus exposure, however Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office said statewide recommendations will likely stay the same.

“The governor is going to, of course, continue to strongly encourage people to wear masks, follow mask mandates and wear masks that fit properly,” Shauna Sanford, communications director for the governor’s office, said. “So they can get as much protection as possible.”

According to the CDC research, “wearing a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask (double masking)” and making sure the medical procedure masks fits tightly could reduce coronavirus exposure by about 95 percent.

Researchers also concluded that “the cloth mask alone” blocked just 44 percent of cough particles, as opposed to “the combination of the cloth mask covering the medical procedure mask (double mask),” which blocked 92.5 percent of cough particles.

Rebecca Christofferson, an assistant professor and infectious disease expert at LSU, said that while the state is having enough trouble “just trying to get people to wear one mask,” she supports citizens double masking for extra coronavirus protection.

“I think keeping the mask mandate is a good idea,” Christofferson said. “If people want to up their personal protection and do double masking, then great.”

Edwards instituted the mask mandate in July 2020, and has faced push back from law firms, small businesses and other politicians ever since. That includes an official opinion from Attorney General Jeff Landry that the governor’s order “does not pass the constitutional test” and “cannot be enforced with criminal or financial sanctions.”