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DES MOINES, Iowa  —  The CDC now recommends wearing not one, but two masks to protect you against COVID-19. Infectious Disease Doctor Megan Srinivas said the double masks not only provide an extra barrier; they also provide a tighter fit to your face. She said this extra protection is partly because of the new variants of the virus.

“The fact that we have these new variants that are far more contagious, that are coming into play. The variants that have emerged out of South Africa and Brazil appear to be the most concerning right now but all three have increased transmissibility meaning that they’re more contagious,” Dr. Srinivas said.

She said the idea is to prevent any type of crevices in your mask where particles can enter or exit. She said this can be done by wearing a cloth mask on top of a surgical mask or by simply tying the strings on the surgical masks tighter around your ears.

She understands why people might be confused about why the CDC has changed their mask wearing recommendations so much over the past year. She said it takes a long time to generate data and scientists have done so in a short amount of time that prove mask wearing is effective.

All this as the state of Iowa loosened mask-wearing restrictions, Governor Reynolds said this is because positivity rates and hospitalizations have decreased.

“While our trajectory has improved over the last month, we’re not in the clear, we’re far from it, and our positivity rates are still far too high. And before we can really get to a point where we can consider going back to normal life, wearing a mask which is a simple thing to do, can help us protect each other and actually help the economy, continue to thrive.” Dr. Srinivas said.

Dr. Shrinivas said if you don’t wear two masks, wearing one mask is better than nothing and will still help prevent the spread.