4 Reasons Why Some People Won’t Wear Masks Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Johnny Lopez
May 07, 2020 - 7:59 am

Many states and cities have mandated the use of masks or face coverings while visiting grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential businesses.

Private companies, like JetBlue and Uber, have also started instituting rules requiring customers and employees to wear masks or coverings while traveling.

Despite these protocols and policies, many people still have trouble adhering to wearing a face mask when they are outside their home.

Experts attribute the refusal to cover up their nose and mouths to several things such as freedom, vanity, discomfort and even confusion, reported CNN.

Freedom

When people are told they have to do something, many will do the opposite, even if it’s to their own harm.

On top of that, many see recent stay-at-home orders and other safety protocols as infringing on their civil liberties.

"People value their freedoms," clinical psychologist Steven Taylor told the outlet. "They may become distressed or indignant or morally outraged when people are trying to encroach on their freedoms."

The most striking example of this behavior was recently seen as hundreds stormed state Capitols in places like Michigan and Ohio to protest ongoing lockdowns.

Vanity

Optics could also be playing a part as many believe wearing a mask is a sign of vulnerability.

"Putting on that mask is about as blatant as saying, 'Hey, I'm a scaredy cat,'" said David Abrams, a clinical psychologist and professor of social and behavioral science at New York University's School of Global Public Health..

To these individuals, the mask is broadcasting to the world that they fear contracting the virus and choosing to go without a covering is a way of projecting a false sense of invincibility.

Discomfort

Many could be choosing not to wear masks because the reality is just too painful.

Up until recently, the thought of wearing a covering in public was not something you typically saw on American streets.

"If everybody started wearing masks, suddenly, the old way of life is gone," added Abrams. "You've suddenly admitted that this is the new normal. But you don't want to believe that."

Confusion

For the last few months, people have been bombarded with loads of new information and conflicting messages at times.

During the first days of the virus, healthy Americans were urged not to buy masks and to save them for medical workers. As more information about the transmission of the virus became known, guidance shifted and everyone was advised to cover their nose and mouths while out in public.

This change has left many feeling confused and/or questioning the reliability of whether they should wear a mask or not.

"The ambivalence of mixed messages makes it far easier for people to do whatever they want and make up their own mind," said Abrams.

Regardless of your own personal thoughts on face masks, the CDC “advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”

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