Gov. Phil Murphy has adapted to the latest guidance on mask layering amid the pandemic, while another state official has pointed out just when two masks might be better than one in discouraging viral spread.

“I’ve now graduated to two,” Murphy said during a state pandemic briefing on Wednesday, while wearing a disposable surgical-style mask under a cloth one.

The idea of layering masks is more a matter of quality versus quantity, according to Health Department Medical Advisor Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, referencing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance released on Saturday.

"The CDC guidance is first thing, wear at least one good mask — and if you want some extra protection then wear two masks appropriately," Bresnitz said, holding up his own N95 mask and noting that due to its protective qualities, it still was advisable to wear alone.

The same guidance stresses not to wear two disposable masks together and also not to layer a KN95 mask with anything.

Choosing a snug-fitting mask was at the top of the CDC list for appropriate face coverings.

"Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask," according to the CDC. "A mask with layers will stop more respiratory droplets getting inside your mask or escaping from your mask if you are sick."

Masks can be layered by having multiple layers sewn together, such as two or three layers of cotton and an added layer of a different material, like silk or chiffon, for better filtration of respiratory droplets.

Combinations of fabrics used in cloth masks, while also still paying attention to the fit of the mask, can provide significantly better protection, according to a study published by the American Chemical Society in April.

People also can wear one disposable mask underneath a cloth mask, according to the CDC. The second mask should push the edges of the inner mask against your face.

guidance for mask layers February 2021 (CDC.gov)

Choosing a mask with a nose wire, either built in or one that sticks to the outside, can help prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask, according to the CDC.

The CDC also shared a disposable mask "hack," as recorded in YouTube video shared by UNC Health in North Carolina.

It shows a technique to "knot and tuck" ear loops of a 3-ply mask, where they join the edge of the covering, and then fold unneeded material under the edges to get a better fit.

The latest guidance also supports using a mask fitter or brace over a disposable mask or a cloth mask to prevent air from leaking around the edges of the mask.

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