According to health experts, masks can help to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 when worn by both infected individuals and seemingly healthy people. Early in the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that those without symptoms did not have to wear masks, but the agency shifted its position in early April recommending that masks be worn by all people in public spaces. Today, masks sit at the center of political debate – serving as an obvious means to slow the spread of virus for some Americans, while symbolizing an infringement of personal freedom for others.
With masks becoming more politicized and a surge of cases in states like Florida, Texas, and California prompting authorities to issue new guidance on face coverings, we asked our audience how often they wear a mask while outside. For a deeper look at mask-wearing habits, we also compared insights across genders, generations, and regions. Finally, in anticipation of an upcoming holiday weekend typically marked by large outdoor gatherings, we asked Americans how they plan to celebrate the 4th of July in light of social distancing guidelines.