Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws during a media interview (Spokesman file)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 12th February 2021)-Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws has pointed out that science and new information is suggesting that wearing two face masks at one time gives additional protection against the new variants of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“…persons who are living in the countries where these variants were first identified, I see pictures of them wearing double masks, two masks. So what they do is they wear the surgical mask for the first layer and then they put on or wear a cloth face mask over the surgical mask,” she said as part of the health situation report at the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 weekly briefing held on Wednesday 10th February 2021. 

In reminding the public about the importance of following the health protocols at all times, she had this to say about facemasks: “It is very, very important given the fact that we have emergence of new variants and the possibility of them reaching our shores, it is important for us to continue adhering to the prevention and control measures. Wearing the face mask is very important. As a matter of fact, the latest information coming out is that wearing two masks, yes double masks is gonna provide you that additional protection against the new variants.

Dr. Laws continued: “So yes, prior to this we advocated one mask but the science and latest information is suggesting that with the emergence of these two variants, you may have to wear two masks because these new variants are associated with increased transmissibility so in other words there is an increased risk of spreading this virus to many other persons and these variants are associated with reinfection and the variant first identified in the United Kingdom is associated with an increased risk of death and so persons who are living in the countries where these variants were first identified, I see pictures of them wearing double mask, two masks. So what they do is they wear the surgical mask for the first layer and then they put on or wear a cloth face mask over the surgical mask.”

“So it’s important for us to wear our face masks because it’s going to provide that additional protection from the variants,” she added.
The CMO also reminded about maintaining adequate hand hygiene as being “very important” and sanitation meaning sanitizing those high touch surfaces such as  door handles, table tops and countertops.”
Additionally, maintaining physical distance of at least three to six feet between individuals and avoiding crowds was also highlighted.
According to Dr. Laws “These are the measures along with the vaccine that are going to help us to get through 2021and the pandemic.”