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: https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2020/07/09/1594305988000/Why-are-we-not-wearing-masks-in-the-UK-/ …
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
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: https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2020/07/09/1594305988000/Why-are-we-not-wearing-masks-in-the-UK-/ …
You can follow @jburnmurdoch.
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