According to NBC News, more than half of the states in the U.S. have some kind of mask requirement due to Covid-19, as of December 10. Even as the death toll rises above 300,000, many in the country continue to not wear masks, and research by Health Affairs, has shown that five days after a mask mandate, Covid-19 growth rates decline by .9 percentage points. So how many people are wearing masks and who is and isn’t abiding by the CDC guidelines? The answer may surprise you.
According to our Zeeto poll, 72% of Americans wear masks most or all of the time. There were differences in gender and age, ranging from the females over 44 years of age with the highest adoption rates at 85%, and males under 44 having the lowest adoption rates at 57%.
Not surprisingly, when asked whether masks help prevent the spread of the virus, people who think that masks are one of or the most important way to prevent the spread adopt at a rate of 88% while those that don’t have an opinion or don’t think the virus is a serious problem adopt at a rate of 52%.
We also asked about political party, to see if there was a correlation between mask adoption and political affiliation. While Democrats did adopt at higher rates than Republicans, both parties adopted at rates above the mean. The lowest adoption rates were for people who were not registered to vote at 62%. This group tends not to have an opinion on whether or not masks help mitigate the spread, which suggests more apathy than opposition to mask-wearing.
And finally, we asked respondents whether they live in an area with a mask mandate, either at the local or state level. This seemed to have the most impact on whether someone was a mask adopter. For those that lived in an area with a mask mandate, 91% of people said that they wear a mask most or all of the time. However, if someone didn’t know whether they lived in an area with a mask mandate, then their mask adoption rate fell to 44%. Even if people knew that their community didn’t require masks, they still had higher mask adoption rates, again suggesting that apathy is more at play than a strong opposition.
For those trying to increase mask adoption in their communities to slow the spread, the learnings here may be that education is more of a driver to increasing awareness of the disease, effectiveness of masks in fighting the disease, and keeping the public informed of local mask regulations.
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