The federal district court in New York City has issued new requirements for visitors, mandating the use of a double mask for entry to the building – or any other building in the Southern District of New York system.
It’s a sign of things to come.
“You are required to wear either:
- One disposable mask underneath a cloth mask with the edges of the inner mask pushed against your face; or
- A properly fitted, FDA-authorized KN95 (or N95) mask,” states the text of the plan.
“Gaiters, bandannas or masks with valves / vents are not acceptable face covers. If you do not have the approved mask(s), a screener will provide one. No one will be admitted without the proper mask(s),” the text goes on.
The Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse at 500 Pearl Street, the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse at 40 Foley Square and District Court in White Plains are all included in the mask mandate, according to the NY Post.
Security guards at the court buildings have been instructed to enforce the mandate, which comes in the wake of last week’s recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to double up on mask protection.
Mask Mandate Backed Up By CDC Study
The CDC has just completed a study led by CDC chief medical officer for COVID-19 response, Dr. John Brooks, who found doubling up can improve mask performance against COVID-19 by about 50 percent.
The study was published on February 10, 2021 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
The researchers “conducted experiments to assess two ways of improving the fit of medical procedure masks: fitting a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask and knotting the ear loops of a medical procedure mask and then tucking in and flattening the extra material close to the face. Each modification substantially improved source control and reduced wearer exposure,” they wrote.
“These experiments highlight the importance of good fit to maximize mask performance,” the researchers added. “There are multiple simple ways to achieve better fit or masks to more effectively slow the spread of COVID-19.
“In lab tests with dummies, exposure to potentially infectious aerosols decreased by about 95 percent when they both wore tight-fitting masks,” researchers found. Other effective options to improve fit included a mask fitter and a nylon covering over the mask.
As of February 1, 38 states and the District of Columbia had universal masking mandates, and masks have also been mandated now by executive order on federal property as well, in addition to domestic and international transportation conveyances.
The CDC recommends choosing a mask with a nose strip along the top that prevents air from seeping in or out. The metal strip molds over the nose for a snug fit and one can check by cupping your hands around the outside edges of the mask. Check to make sure no air is escaping from the area under the eyes or the sides of the mask, the CDC says, plus recommending the addition of layers of material inside a cloth mask.
The CDC also specifically warned against combining two disposable masks (in case you were going in that direction since they are lighter) or combining a KN95 mask with any other covering.
“Until vaccine-induced population immunity is achieved, universal masking is a highly effective means to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 when combined with other protective measures, such as physical distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and good hand hygiene,” the researchers wrote.
“When the source and receiver were both fitted with double masks or knotted and tucked masks, the cumulative exposure of the receiver was reduced 96.4 percent and 95.9 percent respectively.”