The Northeast leads the country in the use of masks

Scientific evidence suggests that wearing a face mask may help stop the spread of Covid-19. New surveys confirm that some regions of the country are taking that message more seriously than others.

Specifically, residents of the Northeast (led by New York) said they wear masks at a significantly higher rate than most of the country.

That’s the finding of an aggregation of over 6,000 respondents from the Ipsos Knowledge Panel survey conducted for Axios (Axios / Ipsos survey). Over the past month and a half (May 8 to June 22), between 48% and 51% of fairly stable Americans told the pollster that they wore masks at all times when leaving home. Other pollsters, who have asked similar questions during the same period, have shown similar figures overall.
In the Axios / Ipsos survey, you can clearly see how far the New York curve is advancing (among the 28 states for which we had at least 75 respondents) and the Mid-Atlantic portion (see all subsets of the Census division here) Northeast They are when it comes to wearing masks. Of the more than 750 respondents from the Mid-Atlantic, 64% say they always wear masks when they go out. As Ipsos did in a recent poll with the Washington Post, in some cases they were also able to dig deeper at the state level.

In New York, 67% say they wear a mask at all times when they leave their home. That’s the highest percentage for any state for which at least 75 respondents were surveyed.

In fact, the Acela broker in general is leading the country in the use of masks. At least 60% of residents in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland indicated that they always wore masks.

New York and the surrounding areas were the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic a few months ago, so it should come as no surprise that there is a clear movement to stop any recurrence of that.

The only other state in the country where more than 60% of residents said they always wore masks was California (64%). The Pacific division (which is primarily made up of California) has the most masked audience (58%) outside the Northeast. That’s primarily a California phenomenon, as less than 50% said they wore masks in the other states (Oregon and Washington) of the Pacific division for which we have a sample of at least 75.

As a general rule, other parts of the country do not adhere to the use of masks like the Northeast. The central part of the country in particular seems adverse to the use of masks.

Less than 50% of Midwest residents (East and West North Central) say they always wear a mask outside the home. The use of masks at all times when leaving the house at 34% is quite limited in the West North Central division.

The other two areas where mask use is significantly smaller than average are the mountain divide in the west and the south central east in the south. Less than 40% in any division told Ipsos that they always put on a mask when they were away from home.

Finally, the other divisions of the South (South Atlantic and West South Central) have an average use of masks. This includes Florida and Texas, which are within the national percentage margin of error in terms of wearing a mask in public.

These sounding data when combined with current transmission rates are generally consistent with the growing scientific consensus that the use of masks decreases the spread of Covid-19. We are dealing with small samples for many states in the poll and there are many potential confounding variables, so I don’t want to dwell too much on this.

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Still, when we limit ourselves to the 28 states where we have a sample size of 75 or more, there appears to be a correlation between the reproduction rate (averaged over the aggregate period that the Axios / Ipsos survey was in the field) and The percentage that said they wore masks. Rates above 1 mean that each infected person is infecting more than 1 person on average, while rates below 1 mean that each infected person is infecting less than 1 additional person on average.

States where the reproduction rate is greater than 1 have an average of 42% who say they always wear a mask when they leave the house. States where the reproduction rate is less than 1 have an average of 51% who say they always wear masks when they leave home.

The relationship is far from perfect, but it is clearly evident. Some states with above-average mask use have more than 1 reproduction (for example, California). That’s what you would expect in this type of simple exercise that revolves around a complex problem. When you examine other ways of looking at the spread, you see similar correlations. This includes looking at the percent change in cases and the percent change in positive cases over the last month and a half compared to the beginning of the year, as well as a 50,000 foot view at the Census split level compared to the rate of reproduction.

It’s potentially another small indication that the skins help in the fight to prevent Covid-19 from spreading.