‘Breathing is optional’: Internet groans after NYC requires double-masking inside federal court buildings

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Two masks will now be required for those who want to enter a federal court building in Manhattan – but the new Covid-19 guidance has provoked more mockery than applause on social media. 

The Southern District of New York announced the rule last week as part of its “phased re-entry plan.” Individuals will need to wear two face coverings or be equipped with an N95 mask. The guidelines also specify that bandanas and coverings with vents will not be considered adequate. Visitors that lack proper face coverings will be provided with proper masks upon entrance to the federal buildings, the rules state. Security personnel will be tasked with enforcing the double-mask rule. 

The new “dress code” covers Manhattan and the Bronx, as well as Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, and Sullivan counties. 

The guidance comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said experiments showed that “fitting a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask” could more effectively slow the spread of coronavirus. 

But social media users seemed to view the health provision as excessive and absurd. 

“Two masks are for selfish granny killers. Anything less than 4 masks is murder,”joked one reply. Numerous Twitter users predicted that double-masking was just the beginning of overzealous PPE protocol. 

The rule is unclear on how one is supposed to breathe while on federal property, another snarky commenter wrote. Others suggested that the guideline was perfect for two-faced politicians.  

Still, there were those who argued that data shows that two masks are better than one.

Multi-masking has become some of a fad in recent weeks, although, like single-mask use, its efficacy is the subject of considerable debate. US Covid-19 czar Dr. Anthony Fauci said at the end of January that there is “no data” to show multiple masks provide increased virus protection. Days earlier, he suggested that double-masking “just makes common sense.”




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Fauci flip-flops again, says there’s NO DATA to indicate that wearing multiple masks is beneficial in fighting spread of Covid-19



It’s not the first time that Fauci has flip-flopped on mask usage. In a March interview, he insisted that there was no reason for seemingly healthy people to be “walking around in a mask.”

Mask-wearing has been a hotly debated issue since the very beginning of the pandemic. Public mask mandates have become commonplace in countries around the world, and new studies have emerged claiming mask usage within the general public could be effective in stopping the spread of coronavirus. Still, less than a year ago there was a wide consensus among medical institutions, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that such policies had no proven benefit.




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One mask good, two masks better: Nearly a year into the pandemic, is advocating double masking really the way to reassure people?



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