Worker inspecting mask production

From double-masking to medical-grade masks, is it time to ramp up protection?

Increasing concerns over more infectious COVID-19 variants has led some to wonder whether our face masks need an upgrade.

Should we layer two masks on top of each other, as politicians and spectators at the U.S. presidential inauguration did earlier this month? Should we replace cloth masks with medical-grade ones, like some countries in Europe are now recommending? And should we wear masks even when outside?

Dr. Jane Wang, a clinical instructor at UBC who’s studied face masks extensively, said in an email that double-masking might improve fit and can increase that “filtration efficiency.”

Places like France and Germany now recommend surgical masks or medical-grade respirators instead of home-made cloth coverings to slow the spread of more transmissible variants.