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(WSYR-TV) — If you watched the Inauguration, you may have noticed everyone wearing masks and many people wearing two masks.

It’s a sign of these times as a new president declares COVID-19 priority number one as a more contagious variant of the virus is spreading.

Public health experts say the best mask has three layers: two cloth layers with a filter sandwiched in between.

Masks should be fitted around the bridge of the nose and made of flexible material to reduce gaps. Head ties create a better fit than ear loops.

If you don’t want to buy a new mask, a simple solution is to wear an additional mask when you find yourself in closer proximity to strangers. Use a disposable surgical mask and cover it with a cloth mask.

If you want to upgrade your mask, the dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health suggests a KF94 mask made in South Korea, similar to the medical N95.

You can buy the KF94 online for about $2 each.

Because the new variant is much more contagious, doctors also suggest changing your behavior. If you go to the store two or three times a week now, cut back to just once a week and keep it short.

If the store is crowded, come back later. If you’re waiting in line, be mindful of staying at least six feet apart from the people ahead of you and behind you.

If you’ve been spending time indoors with other people who aren’t from your household, consider skipping those events until you and your friends get vaccinated. If you must spend time with others, keep it short, wear your best mask and make sure the space is well-ventilated.

Bottom line, the new variant spreading in the United States appears to latch onto our cells more efficiently. So, it could take less virus and less time in the same room with an infected person to become ill. People infected with the variant may also shed more virus.

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