Most Americans now accept the benefits of wearing masks when around others and say they do so, according to a survey published Friday.
Most also say they can keep up the social distancing until the pandemic has eased or until there’s a vaccine -- and most think they’ll need to. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey found that just over half think the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is yet to come.
The survey of more than 1,600 adults, conducted by the nonpartisan foundation, found that deep partisan divides persist, but more people than ever worry the pandemic will affect them personally.
“The share of the public who say they are worried that they or someone in their family will get sick from coronavirus is at its highest point since KFF began tracking this question in February (68%),” the Foundation said in a statement.
These fears may have motivated people to accept public health advice about wearing masks and staying away from other people.
Survey question: How often, if at all, do you wear a protective mask when you leave your house and might be in contact with other people?
- 96% of those polled said some, most or all of the time
- 23% felt wearing a mask is a personal choice
- 73% felt mask use “is part of everyone’s responsibility to protect the health of others.”
“While an overwhelming majority of Democrats (93%) and a large majority of independents (70%) say wearing a mask is everyone’s responsibility to protect public health, Republicans are more divided on this issue with half (50%) saying it is everyone’s responsibility and a similar share saying it is a personal choice (45%),” Kaiser said.
“Republican denialism mirroring President Trump, even in the face of a growing epidemic in red states, has become a real public health challenge that the incoming administration will need to take on,” Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman said in a statement.
A quarter of those surveyed said “The worst is behind us” when it comes to the pandemic, while 51% said the worst is yet to come. But 19% said “The coronavirus is or will not be a major problem in the U.S.”
Survey question: Starting today, how much longer do you think you can follow social distancing in order to limit the spread of coronavirus in your community?
- 75% said they could tough it out another four to six months at least
- 70% said they could wait until a vaccine was widely available, even if that means six more months of restrictions
- 9% said they won’t follow social distancing restrictions at all.