Mask up, then mask up again

Robin and Batman wear masks, but they won’t help against COVID-19. (Image: istolethetv)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today the results of a study that shows that wearing tightly-fitted masks, or laying a cloth mask on top of a surgical mask, reduces the chance of contracting COVID-19 by up to 96.5%.

In other news, water is wet. (Then again, is it really?)

I mean, it’s nice to have a scientific study that proves this, but it’s pretty Captain Obvious level, isn’t it? Back in the old days (March 2020), we were told that wearing a mask was mostly to keep us from spreading the virus if we already had it. Later in the year it was pointed out that it might also protect you. Again, pretty obvious.

Health care professionals wear masks, not just to avoid infecting patients, but also to avoid contracting diseases from people who are, most of the time, kind of sick. Masks work.

I haven’t been ill since I started mostly working from home nearly a year ago. I go to the grocery store once a week and occasionally have to go in to my office for something that can only be done there. I started wearing a mask as soon as I could get some (they weren’t easy to find last spring and I bought my first ones on Etsy, of all places). Around October, I started doubling them up. This probably means I hate freedom twice as much as people who only wear one mask.

I’ve enjoyed not having the flu or a cold – or COVID – so much that I may keep wearing them even after I get my vaccination and we’re reached herd immunity. I finally understand why it was so common, even before the pandemic, to see people in Asian countries wearing face masks in public.

Medical-grade masks, like the N95 variety and the related KN95 masks (which aren’t regulated as strictly as the N95 ones) provide excellent protection, but wearing any mask properly can reduce the chance of getting COVID. “Properly” is over both mouth and nose, with no gaps on the sides, top, or bottom. Wearing a second mask over that one reduces the chance even more.

I can’t believe we even are still having this conversation.

Wear a damn mask. In fact, wear two.