University Medical Professor Recommends Double Masking During Omicron Surge

Jan. 13, 2022, 4:11 p.m. ·

Three women at Hastings College listen to a lecture with face coverings on.
More than 90 percent protection is provided to individuals when wearing double masks along with everyone else in the room. (Photo by Bill Kelly, Nebraska Public Media News)

In light of the COVID-19 omicron variant being the most contagious variant to date, a Nebraska medical expert is encouraging people to double mask in indoor spaces.

Dr. Maureen Tierney is an associate professor at Creighton University’s School of Medicine. She said when two people are wearing double masks, it greatly reduces the chance of infection.

“When you are masked, and in particular, if you use a surgical facemask with a cloth mask on top of it, which the purpose of the cloth mask on top of a surgical mask is to improve the fit, so there’s no gaps,” Tierney said. “If you have two people in a room, the protection of both people is over 90 percent.”

Nebraska’s COVID cases have never been higher during the pandemic than they are right now – and that’s stressing the state’s healthcare system. CHI Health reported 379 employees are quarantined or ill from its 14 hospitals and clinics around the state. Both Nebraska Medicine and CHI decided to require its frontline healthcare workers to double mask.