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Why the NYT Is Encouraging Americans to Practice 'Double-Masking'

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

One of the common looks throughout President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris' inauguration were "double-masking," where someone wears an N95 mask underneath a cloth mask. The New York Times gushed about the practice, calling it a "fashion trend" that is a "sensible" and "easy way" to lower your risk of catching the coronavirus.

The premise of the article was simple: a single mask isn't very effective, but double-masking – or even triple-masking – is effective. 

"One big advantage of double-masking that I’ve found is that it creates a better fit and closes the gaps around the edge of your mask. I like layering my masks. When I walk the dog or exercise outdoors, I wear a regular mask to comply with area mask rules," the article stated. "When I want more protection for short errands, I wear a better mask. When I’m in a taxi or on a train, I double-mask."

According to the writer, KF94 masks are what average Americans should use for double-masking. The reason: it's almost as effective as an N95 but it doesn't take away from the health care community.

The whole concept of double-masking is rather odd, especially when health care officials, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, have repeatedly flip-flopped on the effectiveness of wearing a single mask. At first, we were told they weren't effective. Then, we were told they are. Then they aren't. Now we're told to layer two or three masks on top of each other. 

After a number of Biden administration officials were seen double-masking, blue check marks on Twitter are telling us that layering masks is now the thing to do.

AFP even had a how-to guide on double masking:

The reason Americans question the effectiveness of wearing a mask is simple: health care leaders have been all over the place since the start of the pandemic. States that have mask mandates – California, Michigan, New York – have high COVID rates. If masks were effective, wouldn't those states have the lowest number of infections after months of wearing masks? It's a logical question to ask and one health care officials keep brushing aside. 

Telling people to layer up on masks is essentially saying that what's being used isn't working. Double-masking is a shot in the dark they hope will work.

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