John Burn-Murdoch
+ Your AuthorsArchive @jburnmurdoch Stories, stats & scatterplots for @FinancialTimes | Daily updates of the coronavirus trajectory tracker | [email protected] | #dataviz Jul. 10, 2020 1 min read

NEW with @jemimajoanna: why are so few people in the UK wearing masks?

We dug into the numbers, the science and the nuance to see what’s going on

Story here: 

Thread follows:

1) Months into an airborne disease epidemic that has already killed tens of thousands, only 36% of Brits are wearing masks in public spaces.

Far lower than vast majority of peer countries, including all of Asia, most of Europe, & US.

Only Nordics & Aus are even more mask-averse

2) Why?

A big factor is masks are still not mandatory in UK public spaces.

This despite dozens of studies showing that masks — including homemade ones — reduce transmission risk 

3) But messaging around masks is also key.

Studies show when people are told masking up is altruistic — helps others — they’re more keen to wear them. Research also shows masks’ main utility *is* protecting others.

But this understanding is less common in UK than most countries

4) However we also shouldn’t tar all Brits with the same brush.

YouGov data shows mask-wearing is:
• More common in London (by a long way) and among the elderly, Lab/Remain voters, Scots and women
• Less common in Northern England, Con/Leave voters and men

5) @jemimajoanna also spoke to Prof @melindacmills, who’s been digging into the clinical, social & behavioural evidence on masks and feels British government has a lot to answer for in its mixed and at times anti-scientific-consensus messaging

Full story: 

You can follow @jburnmurdoch.


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