Discussion over double masking intensifies as dangerous COVID-19 variants spread

Updated: Jan. 25, 2021 at 5:28 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A national conversation has started over whether Americans should wear two masks to help prevent the spread of potentially more infective and deadly variants of COVID-19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci weighed in on the idea Monday morning on the Today Show after several politicians were seen double masking at the inauguration.

“This is a physical covering to prevent droplets and virus to get in,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Advisor said. “So if you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on it just makes common sense that it would likely be more effective.”

The idea has surfaced after recent studies concluded the B117 COVID-19 variant, which has been identified in Tennessee, and a new variant out of South Africa are more infective and potentially even more deadly.

“It does nothing more but up the stakes of what we’ve always been doing,” Dr. Steve Threlkeld, Infectious Disease Expert Baptist Memorial Healthcare said. “That is trying to blunt the curve to try to get rid of this virus as much as we can with our behavior.”

Dr. Steve Threlkeld, Infectious Disease Expert with Baptist Memorial Healthcare said he’s not opposed to wearing two masks but he believes there’s a better way to prevent the spread of COVID.

WATCH: Infectious disease expert at Memphis hospital answers questions about COVID-19

“What we do have in this country is enough room for anybody who wants to be 6 or 10 feet apart from someone else to be six feet apart,” Dr. Threlkeld said. “And so I think social distancing always has been and remains the key.”

It has been challenging to get people in the Mid-South to wear masks at all times when around others, let alone two masks.

We asked Memphians what they thought of the idea.

“Actually I’m ready to pull off this one mask,” Larry Trener said.

“As long as the science is there and it makes sense for everybody, I’m on board,” Adam Rush said.

Read more coronavirus coverage here.

“I’m ok with wearing two masks, especially because a lot of people tend to pull it down over their nose so even if they do that they’ll still have an extra level of protection,” Marilyn Harris said.

The good news is, thus far, experts and vaccine officials said the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are still believed to be effective against the new variants of COVID-19.

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