The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may soon recommend all Americans wear two masks to enhance their protection against coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.
“It makes common sense,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said in a livestreamed interview with the Washington Post.
Fauci said he met with colleagues at the CDC on Monday about the possibility — and the agency has agreed to conduct a study to determine the effectiveness of wearing two masks.
“The reason they don’t recommend it right now, it’s a science-based organization, the CDC,” Fauci said. “They make recommendations based on data and science, so that’s why they’re going to look at that particular issue.”
Fauci said he encourages people to double up on masks because it “can’t hurt.”
“The reason why many people are using double-masking and, in fact, you have probably have seen me wearing a double mask is that you can make a general common-sense extrapolation,” he said.
“If you put two on … [and] you’re looking for enhancing the physical barrier, it makes common sense that it certainly can’t hurt and might help.”
Fauci has previously called on people to start double-masking, though there are some concerns that the practice could cause more harm if one is not worn correctly.
Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert who was an adviser to President Biden’s transition team, said that problems can occur with masks that have an “already compromised fit or filtration capacity,” allowing respiratory droplets to escape out of holes.
“If you add on another mask, you may actually make it tougher for the air to move through the two-cloth area, and then at that point it causes more air to actually leak around the sides, which actually enhances your ability to get infected,” he told NBC anchor Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” Sunday.