Masking Up Gains Momentum

With the winter coming, masks are more important than ever.

At the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, certain groups were more likely to mask up than others, according to a Ball State University researcher.

Diana Saiki, a Ball State fashion merchandising professor, was part of a team of researchers that conducted the largest and earliest examination of mask wearing. Saiki said the survey of 838 adults found that the people most likely to mask up were women, older adults, Blacks, Hispanics and low-income employees forced to work outside the home.

“During the early stages of the pandemic, most people were doing all they could to stay safe,” said Saiki, who noted masks soon became politicized. “However, our study also found that some young people and men disregarded protective measures such as masks and gloves.”

The study found the following groups reported a higher prevalence of mask wearing compared to their counterparts: females (82%), divorced/widowed (85%), living with family members (81%), unemployed (85%), non-Hispanics (79%) and those older than 36 years of age (81%).

On Nov. 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on coronavirus-related face masks. The CDC now says wearing a face mask can protect the wearer. Its previous stance noted said that wearing a face mask could decrease spread of COVID-19 to others.

That announcement may give masking up more momentum. The CDC has also reminded the public that masks with two or more layers should be worn over the nose and mouth and secured under the chin to provide the most coverage and protection.

Meanwhile, Ball State University Researchers note more studies are needed on mask wearing in light of quarantine fatigue, the increasing number of cases of COVID-19, behavioral factors and general attitudes, myths and rumors, and types of masks being worn.

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