Should you wear two face masks to avoid the new variant of COVID-19?

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The new COVID-19 variant from Europe continues to spread across the U.S. and it has health experts recommending a new strategy to prevent infection.

Results from new studies suggest that wearing an extra mask may better protect you from infection, than wearing just one. However, it may not be that significant of a difference.

The new contagious strain of COVID-19, first identified in the U.K. last year, has now been detected in at least 20 states including Massachusetts. The CDC has reported 122 COVID-19 cases caused by the variant.

Currently there is no evidence that these variants cause more severe illness or increase risk of death but the increasing number of cases will put more strain on health officials.

Baystate Health infectious disease experts say wearing two masks could slightly decrease your chances, but in actuality wearing one mask properly is really all you need.

“Logically, it makes a little bit of sense that if you have more layers between you and the virus, the less chances you have of contracting the virus. But if you have a high-quality mask and you are wearing it properly, the benefit of adding another mask on top of that wouldn’t be that great,” said Dr. Esteban DelPilar, a Baystate Health infectious disease specialist.

Dr. DelPilar told 22News if you choose to wear a second mask, keep in mind your breathing could be a little bit compromised. He said you do want to make sure the mask is snug against your face, and if you can get one that’s water proof, that’s a big plus.

At Wednesday’s inauguration, former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was one person spotted double-masking.

Recent studies show that wearing a mask can prevent COVID-19 infection by up to 70 percent. There is not enough research yet to know how much wearing two masks can do that.

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