KEY POINTS

  • A new study revealed that men are more likely to leave their face masks at home
  • There are many men who believe that wearing masks is uncool and a sign of weakness
  • This finding also revealed that men think they are less likely to be infected by the virus

As some states relax their restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, a new study revealed that men might be more inclined to leave their face masks at home. Researchers also found that males are less likely to believe they will be seriously affected by COVID-19, despite data showing most of the patients are men.

A Larger Effect

Men in the US report they are not apt to wearing face coverings, particularly in places that do not mandate wearing them. Researchers from the Mathematical Science Research Institute in Berkeley and Middlesex University London in the UK said that mandatory face covering “has a larger effect on men than on women.”

The fact that men are less likely to wear a face-covering can be explained in part that they are more inclined to believe that they will be somewhat unaffected by COVID-19. This was according to co-authors Hélène Barcelo and Valerio Capraro. They also found that men consider face coverings as shameful, a sign of weakness, a stigma, and generally uncool. men less likely to wear masks men less likely to wear masks Photo: lukasz_gl - Pixabay

According to the researchers, the finding is “particularly ironic” as men appear to be more affected by the virus. In hard-hit places like New York City, Spain, Italy, and China, men have succumbed to COVID-19 at far greater rates compared to women. The wearing of face coverings was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The health body said people must use the cloth mask to cover their noses and mouths whenever they go out in public.

Mask-Wearing Behavior

Other surveys have also shown the relative reluctance of men to wear face coverings as protection against COVID-19. A poll conducted by One Gallup/Knight Foundation on April 14 to 20, found that 29% of men claimed to have “always” worn a face-covering outside their homes. In comparison, 44% of women also say they often use face coverings in public places.

The new study is not without precedent. According to a 2014 literature review on the SARS and H1N1 outbreak in Hong Kong, researchers found women were more likely to wear masks as a protective measure against infections. The study was published in the Singapore Medical Journal. In the latest research, the authors wrote: “With regard to gender, it has been postulated that women are generally less willing to take risks and are thus more compliant with preventive behavior than their male counterparts.”