One in three Americans have ever doubled up on face masks, but few do so frequently

Jamie BallardData Journalist
January 28, 2021, 8:00 PM UTC

Earlier this week, White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview with NBC that it’s likely that wearing two face masks at once provides more protection than wearing just one.  

“So if you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective,” Fauci told NBC. “That’s the reason why you see people either double masking or doing a version of an N95.”  

Other health officials have said similar things. But it seems this advice hasn’t yet got through to many Americans. A YouGov poll of more than 5,000 US adults finds that a majority (61%) have never worn two face masks layered on top of each other.  

Relatively few double up on masks all the time (8%) or often (7%). Another 9% say they sometimes do this, and an equal number (9%) occasionally wear two masks at once.  

Fauci’s words may not have sunk in just yet, but perhaps that will change. Data from a September 2020 Economist/YouGov poll found that Americans are far more likely to trust (55%) Fauci’s medical advice rather than distrust it (20%).  

Methodology: 5,386 US adults were asked “How often, if ever, have you worn two face masks layered on top of each other?” The survey was conducted between January 26 - 27, 2021. The responding sample is weighted to be representative of the US population.    

Image: Getty