LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Arkansas health officials say there haven’t been official medical reports that confirm that wearing two masks would double the protection against COVID-19 or the new strain.
In the governor's press briefing Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Health Department said she hasn’t seen any reports, despite other officials nationwide suggesting it.
From the start of the pandemic in the United States, different health experts had different opinions on what the public needed to do to help stop the spread. A year later, Dr. Dillaha said the message is concise and clear moving forward.
"Get vaccinated when it's your turn and to continue with these measures of wearing masks, keeping your distance, avoiding large crowds, and washing your hands,” said Dr. Dillaha.
There hasn’t been any confirmed cases of the new strain of COVID-19 in Arkansas, but she said that doesn’t mean it’s not here. Even if you have received your first round of the vaccine, still adhering to guidelines will keep you safe.
"These strains are more infectious and we want to make sure that we do not give them an opportunity to spread in Arkansas," Dillaha said. "I have not seen reports indicating that two masks are better than one. But I do know that some masks are better than others.”
Dr. Gerry Jones is the Chief Medical Officer at Chi St. Vincent Infirmary said there hasn’t been anything scientific behind two masks. He said medical masks are better than any other type.
"I can't tell you from a scientific point that the combination of wearing the two at once offers any advantage. I have had people that have told me that these cloth masks are more comfortable against the face,” said Dr. Jones.
He said cloth masks block between a third to a half of all droplets that could potentially transmit COVID-19. Surgical masks are more effective. There was a short supply of PPE in the early stages of the pandemic last year, which is why cloth masks were pushed. Now since you can grab a medical mask in local stores, Dr. Jones says you should.
"In our hospital, we have stopped the use of cloth masks by themselves and so for both, we've done that for sometime with our co-workers here in the hospital, but we have now done that for all of our visitors and patients," Dr. Jones explained. "So when they come in and someone is wearing a cloth mask, we give them one of these medical masks."