This Is Who Is Actually the Least Likely to Wear a Mask

A new CDC poll shows that people in this age group are the most resistant.

Since late March, civilians have been encouraged by health authorities to wear masks or face coverings when out in public. As COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, limiting the spread of potentially infected droplets that come from the nose and mouth is essential to beating the pandemic. However, the recommendation has not been universally accepted. There are those who shouldn't wear masks and are exempt from the guidelines offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—children under two, people with severe breathing issues, and anyone who can't take their mask off themselves—but there are also those who refuse for other reasons. An updated poll from the CDC reveals that there is one age group that is least likely to wear a mask in public, and it may not be the one you expect.

The CDC asked adults whether they had worn a mask when leaving their house within the past seven days. Of respondents in their 30s, 84.4 percent said that they had; 74.9 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 also said that they covered their faces. Between the ages of 50 and 64, 75.3 percent said yes, and 79.2 percent of people 65 or older report wearing masks outside of their home.

The lowest percentage of mask wearers are those between the ages of 40 to 49. Only 68 percent of respondents in their 40s said that they donned masks or face coverings within the week prior.

Middle age man wearing mask
Shutterstock/Miljan Zivkovic

The survey also broke down answers into other categories. Percentages are similar across gender lines, with 77.6 percent of men and 75.3 percent of women using masks. Regionally, more people in the northeast (87 percent) than people in the south (71 percent) answered in the affirmative.

But it's important to note that the most recent results published yesterday were collected between May 11 and 13, prior to the coronavirus spike that most states in the country are currently experiencing. The same survey yielded another set of data collected between April 7 and 9, which shows that more people across the board adopted mask wearing in the month span.

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People in their 40s were not the least likely to go out wearing masks when asked in April. At that time, only 36.6 percent of people over 65 said that they had done so, compared to 61.4 percent of respondents from ages 40 to 49. There was a significant leap for seniors, but a much smaller one for people in middle age.

Overall, 87.8 percent of people of all ages agreed, when asked in May, with the statement, "It is important for me to wear a cloth face covering when I am out in public." So while it may seem that Americans are completely divided on this issue, data suggests that many more people support wearing masks than oppose it. And for more on COVID confusion, here's The New Face Mask Myth You Need to Stop Believing.

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