Health Care

Americans far less likely to wear masks indoors with non-household members than in public: poll

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Americans are far less likely to wear a mask indoors among non-household members than in public spaces, although majorities say they do both, according to new polling from Gallup.

While 56 percent of U.S. adults said they “usually” or “always” wear masks indoors with acquaintances from outside their immediate households, 89 percent said the same of public settings such as stores or businesses.

The survey also found masks drive confidence among those who said they believe they are protected from the virus, with 71 percent who expressed confidence citing masks as the reason. The second-most-common reason for confidence was others wearing masks in public, at 51 percent, followed by other people maintaining proper social distancing, at 49 percent.

The new poll also found a partisan gap in responses, with Democrats more likely than Republicans or independents to say they always or typically wear masks inside among people outside their immediate households. It also found that while Americans over 55 are most likely to always wear masks in public, they are least likely to do so in private among non-household members.

Although U.S. regulators have approved a vaccine for the virus, most Americans are not expected to be vaccinated until well into 2021. Public health officials are increasingly concerned that gatherings for Thanksgiving, Chanukah and Christmas will fuel another surge of infections. 

“This is going to be, I think, a brutal time for us,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Robert Redfield said last week. “As I said, I think it will be the most challenging time in the history of our nation from a public health perspective. And I want the public to really understand that despite what I said, that’s not written in stone if people really would embrace the strategies that we’ve asked.”

Pollsters surveyed 5,026 adults between Nov. 1-6 in self-administered web surveys.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine mask usage Robert Redfield

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