CDC says it’s time to double up on masks

Published: February 16, 2021 6:09 PM EST
Updated: February 16, 2021 11:02 PM EST

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it’s time to double-mask up. But some people still aren’t sold on wearing one. However, researchers say there could be a solution.

When it comes to masking up, Henrietta Shuminsky is all in, even now that CDC recommends double masking.

“I just had my two COVID shots, and I’m going to continue to wear them,” Shuminsky said. “I usually wear two masks when I’m out shopping in a store.”

She’s not alone either. Cheryl Ward says she hasn’t tried it yet but is open to it. “I haven’t worn two masks, but it couldn’t hurt,” Ward said.

Mary Russo is visiting Southwest Florida from St. Louis. “That would provide more protection, and I did actually have my husband do that on the plane over,” Russo said.

But, instead of doubling up on masks, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Epidemiologist Dr. Michael Mina says we should improve upon what we already have.

“What we should really be thinking hard about doing as a nation and as a globe is trying to find even better materials to create masks with, rather than rather than putting the onus entirely on the individual,” Dr. Mina said.

Adam Wentworth is a research engineer at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “After the second prototype went through, we got another 100% success for those who were able to pass it, and so that gave us the confidence to really push forward,” he said.

The team is working on an upgraded model made of silicone rubber. It is reusable, more comfortable and see-through.

“Our mask is designed to have the performance that’s required for a very demanding situation like healthcare,” Wentworth said.

But, until those masks reach the consumer market, think like Shuminsky.

“Anybody can do it,” she said.

For now, Wentworth’s team is working on the manufacturing and distribution plans to get the masks out to health care workers.