I tried wearing two face masks at the same time the other day. It wasn't that bad.
I did this in response to Dr. Anthony Fauci's suggestion that wearing two face masks is only logical since the Covid-19 pandemic seems to be taking a concerning, more aggressive and perhaps a more ominous turn. New variants of the virus from England, South Africa and Brazil appear to be transmitting faster than the original, and could be deadlier.
So when I went to the grocery store the other day, I put on two cloth masks. It seems that one mask gives you 50 percent protection, two masks give you 75 percent protection, and three masks (three?) give you 90 percent protection.
Keep in mind the average annual flu shot is good for about 50 percent protection in a given year, depending on the shotee. I guess you measure this against no protection at all, the only other option there is.
So I put on the second mask. I'll take 75 percent any day, especially since my vaccine appointment isn't until March 5. Kim is too young to get an appointment, but that's a different story.
But I do wear the extra mask with qualification, however.
If I'm going to a restaurant to pick up my to-go order, or if I'm dropping by the bank for a transaction that nullifies the drive-thru for some reason, I'll wear a single mask.
I'll wear a single mask sitting around the fire pit, socially-distanced and outdoors, of course, with my bubbled friends.
But if I'm in a store for more than 10 minutes, I think I'll do the double-masking. It can't hurt. Plus, I try to remember to wash and sanitize my hands before and after each visit.
When I first put on the two masks, I wondered how my ears would handle the extra burden. But it was nothing at all.
The first mask I put on had rather loose ear loops, but the second one has tighter elastic loops, and together, working in tandem, I feel like I'm getting pretty decent protection.
I find it somewhat odd that I'm discussing wearing two masks at once. Less than a year ago, when the pandemic came to our shores, masks were hard to come by. Remember that? At the time, even medical experts like Fauci said the preferred but difficult-to-find N95 masks should be reserved for first responders.
But all that changed quickly when it became apparent the virus was deadlier than anticipated. Empirical evidence has supported wearing masks as a way to mitigate the transmission of the virus. Empirical evidence is another way of saying common sense.
Now Kim and I own about 10 or so masks – each. We wash them regularly and have them located in strategic places, like in the kitchen, in the pockets of our coats and in our cars.
There's a humorous meme out there in Facebook world showing a photo-shopped Fauci wearing eight or nine masks at once. I think this came out almost immediately after his pronouncement that it might be wise to wear at least two masks, and I think the meme was meant to be a sarcastic SMH statement from the right, who don't want to be tread upon.
With more than 430,000 dead Americans in less than a year (it took almost four years to reach that number of dead Americans in World War II), I prefer to take the meme to heart.
So wear a mask.
And wear a mask.