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Doctors are encouraging people to double up their COVID-19 efforts by wearing two masks

Top infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci said two masks are likely more effective.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — Doctors are recommending doubling up our efforts in stopping the spread of COVID-19, specifically with how we mask up. 

It's scientifically proven that masks help minimize the spread of viruses, including COVID-19. While data about this "two masks" approach is still being analyzed, doctors are encouraging it to further eliminate the spread of the virus. 

Memphis infectious disease specialist Dr. Manoj Jain said you can wear a surgical mask around your nose and mouth and then a cloth mask over it for extra protection.

"We know that one layer works and lots of times what happens is there are possibilities that the particles can sort of sneak through from the sides if you’re not wearing them well," Jain said. 

Jain works with COVID-19 patients every day, so it's critical he's cautious. He said the top layer can be easily removed in case any particles get on it and the layer underneath covering your nose and mouth can still be clean. 

"I use the N-95 and I’ll wear the N-95 as sort of my snuggly one and then I’ll have a surgical mask which is on top," Jain said. 

Why are doctors recommending this now? 

With mask wearing now required in federal buildings and more data continuing to prove the effectiveness of masks, it's just another way to protect ourselves.

"I think there’s a renewed interest in masking, the importance of masking, how we should be masking, so I think that’s important to keep in mind," Jain said. 

With a new variant that's potentially coming into our community, people need to be extra cautious as the vaccine becomes more available. Jain added while we wait for more data on the vaccine and its impact on transmission, we still need to stay vigilant as the science keeps evolving. 

"We got to knock this out of the park," Jain said. "We’ve got to do everything we can to maintain this virus at its minimum activity."