Should Vermonters wear two masks in public?

Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 6:46 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The CDC recommends you wear two masks to better prevent the spread of the coronavirus, especially the new more contagious version, which has been found in Burlington’s wastewater. Christina Guessferd finds out if Vermonters are following the advice.

“I’d like more information about it, before I start double masking,” said Burlington resident Gina Scafa.

“When it starts getting worse, I definitely would consider it,” said Thomas Francis of Burlington.

Reporter Christina Guessferd: Do you know how to double mask?

Thomas Francis: I do. I used to do it when I saw my mom in the nursing home.

Gina Scafa: put two on!

Reporter Christina Guessferd: Why do you choose to double mask? Do you feel safer having the added protection?

Dough Le Brun: A little bit. I mean, I have a beard, and obviously, that decision means I’m accepting a little risk around the edges.

“The CDC recently came out and said it’s reasonable to make sure that your mask game is as good as it can be. Double- masking is just one strategy. The point is, your face covering needs to fit properly for it to work,” said Dr. Tim Lahey, an infectious disease specialist at The UVM Medical Center. “Having a cloth mask over a procedure mask can make sure that it fits that much more tightly to your face, and that way air can’t get in and out.”

Reporter Christina Guessferd: what’s the difference between a regular mask or double masking and the N-95 mask, that circular one?

Dr. Tim Lahey: The mask that gives the very best protection from COVI-19 is an N-95 mask. Clinicians wear this in the hospital when they’re caring for somebody who we know has COVID-19. The challenge is, that’s hard to wear for a long time, and it kind of feels like breathing in a terrarium.

Lahey says the last thing experts want to do is dissuade folks from wearing a mask at all. “You hate to make recommendations that are just so uncomfortable or so complicated, that people are just like, ‘Ah, forget it,’” he said.


If you do choose to double mask before stepping outside or grocery shopping, you can usually find surgical masks sold at your local pharmacy. The process of putting on two masks is simple. Start with the surgical mask. Place it on your face, securing the fabric over your nose and under your chin. Ensure the ear straps are tight. Then, place a multi-layered cloth mask on top, following the same process.

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