Americans tend to neglect wearing masks when they’re mingling with people outside of their immediate household, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Southern California published on Thursday.
The study, which was conducted by USC’s Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research, reported that between 80 and 90 percent of American adults “consistently” believe masks are effective against COVID-19 infection and that nine in 10 adults wear them, especially during essential activities like grocery shopping and visits to the doctor.
However, they do so inconsistently when it comes to social interactions, according to the survey.
While 90 percent of adults in December reported wearing masks most of the time while grocery shopping, the figure dropped down to 51 percent among those who made close contact with non-household members. Similarly, only 47 percent of adults who attended gatherings of more than 10 people wore masks most of the time.
Nearly 80 percent didn’t wear masks while visiting other households or exercising outdoors, according to the study.
The researchers warned that their findings “indicate that many people lack a clear understanding of optimal mask use and the risks posed by close contact with friends and family outside their immediate households.”
“Policymakers should redouble efforts to send consistent messages to Americans not only about the importance of wearing masks to stop the virus’s spread but also about where, when and how to effectively wear masks,” they said.
Read the study below: