Public do not need to ‘double mask’ like Joe Biden, top heath official says
Public Health England’s Dr Susan Hopkins said the guidance was currently still to wear a single face covering with more than two layers.
She said there is “ongoing discussion” on face coverings between scientists and politicians.
Dr Hopkins told a Downing Street press conference: “We have got a face masks and face coverings advisory group who meet on a regular basis and look at new and emerging evidence, and the US has looked at some of that evidence as well.
“We are in an ongoing discussion about what to do next, but we think one mask that has more than two layers in it is currently effective for the vast majority of the population.”
Research published last summer suggested home-made face coverings need to be at least two layers and preferably three to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The study, published in the journal Thorax in July, saw experts from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, test three types of masks.
Their one-layer face covering was made using a cotton T-shirt material, the two-layer covering was prepared by sewing two strips together, and the third was a surgical mask.
The researchers concluded that while a single-layer face covering is better than none at all, a double-layer was “significantly better at reducing the droplet spread caused by coughing and sneezing”.
They added: “A surgical mask was the best among all the tested scenarios in preventing droplet spread from any respiratory emission.”