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Why Is It Still Necessary To Wear Two Masks?

Arpit received both doses of the Covishield vaccine soon after the vaccination drive started in India for the age group of 18-45 years. However, the deadlier second wave entailed double masking to protect one from getting infected. Now that the situation is back in control, Arpit and many others are wondering whether it is still necessary to wear two masks.

According to experts, double masking is still very important for a variety of reasons. The central one being that the only way to rely on herd immunity for controlling the pandemic is to bring the community transmission rates down. In other words, the importance of prevention must be more important than control.

Why it is Important To Wear Two Masks?

Here are some of the other reasons that make it necessary to wear two masks:

  1. Better Fit

When you wear a single mask, many a time it doesn’t fit properly on your face. You might feel air escaping through the sides of your mask when that happens. In other words, you are at a greater chance of infection if you wear a mask that doesn’t provide a good fit.

A good fit is one where the outlines of the mask are perfectly stuck along your face and the air only passes through the mask. If you wear two masks, you will get a better fit and hence better protection from the virus. In addition, you will also be protecting others by ensuring the perfect fit for your mask.

  1. Increased Filtration

Wearing two masks ensures an increased filtration which means that its ability to contain the respiratory droplets increases significantly. Thus, the chances of transmitting or contracting the virus decrease marginally. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advises using a face mask with at least two or three layers of fabric. Therefore, when you wear two masks, you effectively double the layers of material that respiratory droplets have to go through to reach your nose or mouth.

  1. Added Protection to Variants

The newer variants of coronavirus that are coming up are far more transmissible with higher severity of symptoms. Thus, we need added protection against these new variants. Wearing two masks provides better protection against these highly transmissible variants with better bit and higher filtration.

  1. Prevention of the Third Wave

All of us faced the wrath of the deadly second wave with collapsed health systems because of its transmissibility and severity of symptoms. Even Arpit who had a much lesser chance of getting severe symptoms because of getting fully vaccinated was terrified to the bone. By wearing two masks and following other guidelines, you can help prevent this from happening again and contain the third wave at an early stage.

Why is it necessary to wear two masks after vaccination?

Many of the fully vaccinated people like Arpit are wondering whether they still need to wear two masks or not. Their concern is understandable as their chance of getting infected is minimal. But there are various reasons which call for double masking even for fully vaccinated people:

  1. It takes time for the vaccine to be fully effective

The vaccine’s effect doesn’t kick in as soon as you get jabbed. It can take weeks for any of the coronavirus vaccines to reach their full effectiveness. For instance, the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine takes is known to take two weeks to reach 95% effectiveness.

  1. Vaccines do not provide 100% protection

The Covid vaccines are incredibly effective and drastically slim your chances of getting infected. That being said, any vaccine developed for Covid doesn’t promise 100 % protection from the infection. 

The vaccines developed in India, Covaxin, and Covishield, offer protection of 81% and 90% against the infection respectively. Hence, it is better to be on the safe side and wear two masks even if you’re vaccinated.

  1. Fully vaccinated people may be asymptomatic spreaders

The studies on vaccines conducted until now have been majorly inclined towards protection against illness and not prevention against transmission. In other words, scientists and experts are concerned that the vaccinated population might get infected and become asymptomatic spreaders. Hence, wearing two masks enables you to protect others by significantly minimizing transmission if you’re asymptomatically infected.

  1. Protecting people with critical medical conditions

The people who suffer from chronic medical conditions are at a much greater risk of developing a severe case of Covid-19. Moreover, their medical conditions can extremely worsen after getting infected. In addition, this population wasn’t involved in the clinical trials so we cannot be sure about the effectiveness of vaccines on their bodies.

Similarly, vaccination of pregnant women has some potential risks. Therefore, many pregnant women are opting to get their vaccines after delivery. Double masking after being fully vaccinated will help you protect these people from getting infected.

  1. We have a long way to reach herd immunity

Experts indicate that 70-80% of the population needs to be vaccinated for the population to reach herd immunity. Because of the shortage 0f vaccines’ supply, we still have a long way to go to reach herd immunity. Therefore, it is better to wear two masks and ensure that the chances of transmission are minimal.

In conclusion, it is still necessary to wear two masks to effectively prevent transmission and get higher protection against infection. Better fit and increased filtration power will help you steer clear of the infection and also help protect others around you. 

Even fully vaccinated people like Arpit can turn out to be asymptomatic spreaders. Thus, it is important to wear two masks even if you’re vaccinated. Become a catalyst in preventing the third wave by wearing two masks and following other necessary guidelines.

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