According to the CDC, fit matters when it comes to your mask protecting you against COVID-19. According to new CDC findings, layering a fitting cloth mask over a surgical mask is likely to prove beneficial.

These findings are not expected to lead to updated mask recommendations by the CDC. However, the public health agency holds their stance that anyone that is two years of age and older should wear a face covering when out in public.


This finding does not change the current recommendation that medical workers in high-risk environments should rely on N95 masks. These are still seen to be a strong filter against any contaminants, even though they may be tougher to breathe in over long periods of time.

This new research suggests that when people “double masks” the risk of transmitting the coronavirus falls more than 95%.

Researchers used two mannequin forms for testing exposure. They found similar benefits with tightening a surgical mask around the ears of a person to improve how it is fit and positions. They used the “knot and tuck” method to ensure that the surgical mask fit closely around the face without notable gaps. It was found that the benefits of doing this dropped to ~80% if only one person “double masked” and ~60% if only tightened and knotted their mask for a more secure fit.