Infectious disease expert warns double-masking ‘can do more harm’

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A top infectious disease expert has warned that wearing two masks can “do more harm” if one of the face coverings isn’t being worn correctly.

Michael Osterholm, who was an adviser to President Biden’s transition team, said the problem occurs with masks that have an “already compromised fit or filtration capacity,” allowing respiratory droplets to escape out of holes.

“If you add on another mask, you may actually make it tougher for the air to move through the two-cloth area, and then at that point it causes more air to actually leak around the sides, which actually enhances your ability to get infected,” Osterholm told NBC anchor Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” Sunday.

Osterholm said there are cases where double-masking can be an effective tool against the coronavirus.

“But at the same time, there are many [where] you may do more harm,” said the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Osterholm said what’s “very important” to him is to stop people from wearing the mask under their nose.

“You know, that’s like fixing three of the five screen doors in your submarine,” he said.

“We’ve got to get people to start using these right, that would help right there tremendously,” he added.

White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has said two masks are “likely … more effective.”

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