What Dr. Fauci's 'Common Sense' Mask Layering Means for Promo Orders
Face mask guidance continues to evolve.
Almost immediately after his inauguration, President Biden issued an executive order mandating masks in federal buildings and on federal lands. Similarly, the CDC issued an order last Friday requiring the use of face coverings on all public transportation, effective today. This covers trains, airplanes, boats, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares.
As public health guidance evolves, so too does the science behind best practices for masks themselves. At the beginning of the pandemic, the consensus among experts was that “anything is better than nothing.” And while that hasn’t been exactly debunked, there has been new research on the effectiveness of certain types of face coverings and materials.
The latest from Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has become the face of the government’s COVID response, is that more layers is better.
“If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective,” Fauci said. “And that’s the reason why you see people either double masking or doing a version of an N95.”
A large part of the mask-effectiveness issue is that many people don’t wear their masks correctly. Wearing multiple masks creates cover for any gaps.
“Double layering is adding extra filtration, but a lot of the benefit also comes in making sure you are covering those gaps around the masks,” said Alice Sato, epidemiologist at the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, Neb. “Because not every mask you put on fits equally.”
The CDC recommends that the public (i.e. the people who do not work in health care and therefore do not need an N95 mask) choose from the following:
- Non-medical disposable masks
- Masks that fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face
- Masks made with breathable fabric such as cotton
- Masks made with tightly woven fabric
- Masks with two or three layers
- Masks with inner filter pockets
These features are commonplace in masks available in the promotional products industry. So, none of this is entirely new. And, like Fauci said, a lot of this is common sense.
While the CDC is reportedly studying the effectiveness of double-masking and has yet to issue any official guidance on it, the support for it from Fauci and other public health officials could potentially lead to new demand from customers looking for face masks. The CDC's new guidance for public transportation could also give demand a bump, as masks are now required for commuters and workers in certain places they may not have been before.
If your last mask order was for single-layer masks, it would be smart to check in with those clients and offer multi-layer masks or a new batch for double-masking. Even if you’ve sold nothing but multi-layered masks, it’s still smart to check in periodically with those clients to see if they need more. As Fauci said, the more layers the better, and as people regularly wash their masks, they become less and less effective.