The practice of wearing a face mask in the US has been more controversial and politicized than in any other country. As a result, a big number of people in the country are not wearing a face covering. This can significantly increase the risk of the spread of coronavirus infection as well as increase mortality rates.
Although the number of people opting not to wear a mask is increasing worldwide due to pandemic fatigue, the US seems to have the biggest problem. This is why the country has reported record-high increases in the daily average in the past few weeks with multiple outbreaks across the state.
Currently, there is plenty of evidence to show face coverings indeed work and bring down the risk of infection to a big extent. The U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a mask whenever going out in a public space for this very reason.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there was confusion regarding the type of mask to be worn along with issues of availability. Over time, the CDC and other state health agencies spread awareness regarding both the problem and made it easy for every person to buy a mask in accordance with their level of risk of exposure.
However, encouraging people to wear a face mask in the US has still been a big challenge for health experts even though studies have continued to highlight the benefits of face covering, including a recent one conducted by researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
According to the new study, whose findings appear in the journal Nature, if people continue to ignore guidelines from the CDC and not wear a mask, the death toll of the US can increase even further. By March of next year, it may even be over 438,000.
This situation can be simply avoided if people change their habits, according to the research. If the majority, which is as many as ninety-five percent of the population, strictly wears a mask in public and crowded places, as many as 130,000 deaths due to coronavirus can be successfully prevented.
If eighty-five percent of the people choose to wear a face covering, it can avoid about ninety-six thousand deaths. This shows that the higher the percentage of people wear a mask, the higher the number of lives that can be saved from the deadly effects of coronavirus.
Prior to these findings, two studies published in the past week have shown that wearing a commonly available cloth mask can significantly bring down the chances of a coronavirus outbreak and protect the person who chooses to wear it, as well as the community around him or her.
However, many people, specifically those belonging to the young adult age group, are continuing to ignore guidelines for wearing a mask. In the past eight months of the coronavirus pandemic, scientists had already anticipated this as an end result of fatigue.
While it is understandable that the vast majority is tired of coronavirus restrictions, this does not make them any less important but it can only prolong them.