UT Health San Antonio Emergency Medicine Resident Physician, Dr. Owais Durrani joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss if people should always wear two masks going forward and what kind of masks are most efficient at preventing the spread of COVID-19.
SEANA SMITH: We want to turn to the pandemic. The CDC out with a new study today that found that double-masking actually works. And it really substantially reduces the risk of getting COVID.
We want to bring in Dr. Owais Durrani. He's an emergency medicine resident physician at UT Health San Antonio. And Dr. Durrani, great to have you back on the program. Let's talk about double masks because we've been debating this over the past couple of weeks. Now we have this report out from the CDC.
So a two-part question here, I guess. One, should we always be wearing two masks now at this point? And then, two, what type of masks should people be wearing?
OWAIS DURRANI: Yeah, thanks for having me. Well, I think I'll kind of give you an example. You know, when studies have been done amongst nurses and physicians in the hospital over the past year or so, the infection rates and the hospitalization rates among doctors and nurses have been very low. And the reason for that is proper masking, wearing masks all the time. And we in the hospital, obviously, have N95 masks, but even over that, we wear surgical masks. And so I'm glad that the CDC came out with this recommendation today.
My answer to your question would be, whenever you're outside your home, I would recommend wearing two masks. Now, a lot of people I know wear bandannas or cloth masks. I would recommend wearing a surgical mask on top of that, or wearing a surgical mask and then having a cloth mask on top of that. And that's really going to kind of help [? tighten ?] any gaps around the edges and make sure that you're getting the maximum level of protection and making sure nothing is coming in from the outside and, if you happen to be sick, that you're not spreading virus particles as well.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Dr. Durrani, I want to go-- I'm going to ask you to repeat for those of us who don't wear masks. I mean, I wear a mask every day because of the pandemic, but I'm not a doctor. So the cheap blue mask compared to the more expensive K95, or whatever derivative 95, that you wear, what order-- blue first and then the K over that, the 95 over that, or if you've got a buff, blue mask and then the buff over that?
OWAIS DURRANI: Yeah. So if you have a KN95 or N95 mask, you would wear that first and then the blue over that. That way, you are protecting the lifespan of that N95 mask. Also, the N95 mask has a tighter seal, so you want that tighter seal to be closer to your skin to give you that maximum level of protection and then having that second level of protection on top of that.
Now, if you are wearing a bandanna or a buff or anything like that, I would wear the surgical mask first-- once again, the surgical mask fits tighter around the nose and kind of bottom areas-- and then wearing your cloth mask on top of that.
SEANA SMITH: Dr. Durrani, we also got news out today. The FDA authorizing another Eli Lilly antibody treatment, so, of course, aimed to try and reduce hospitalizations. I guess, the question is, to what extent do you think that this will help alleviate some of that pressure on our hospital systems?
OWAIS DURRANI: Yeah, it'll help. Every little bit helps. I don't think it's going to be a game changer. For example, in our day-to-day practice, if you meet admission criteria, you get admitted. If you don't, you get discharged.
There's a very small amount of patients that would qualify for this therapy and that would benefit from it. But that being said, when our hospitals are full and when we are, you know, needing every little bit of help that we can, this helps. And so I think it is a small piece in kind of the bigger picture that's going to help us kind of get out of this latest surge and back to some level of normalcy.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Could we-- if we're going to do the double-masking, could entertainment venues begin to open? If you test the people who won't wear masks who are singing or yelling or whatever and-- but if the audience is all double-masked, would this be a protection in which we could get theaters and movie houses reopened?
OWAIS DURRANI: Potentially, but not to full capacity. So we would still be recommending social distancing 6 feet apart, making sure everyone gets tested, making sure that capacity is not reached and that we're kind of following local guidelines.
So I think it could help. It could especially help in places that get to a herd level of vaccination and immunity quicker than other places. But at this point, I don't think it would be the kind of magic bullet that gets us back to normalcy. We need to make sure that we are still vaccinating, still social distancing, still making sure that we are not interacting with those that are outside of our pods as much as possible.
SEANA SMITH: Dr. Owais Durrani.