U of M study shows more people are wearing masks

More and more people are wearing masks daily. In some cases, it’s because it’s required; in others, it’s because people just want to try to stay safe.

The doctor behind a new study told FOX13 that 92 percent of the people surveyed put one on and that should help lower the number of new COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Marian Levy is a professor and Associate Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Memphis. She said the mask ordinance is making people put on a facial covering.

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The data from the study shows that it took a law to make people mask up and public health experts say that should help control the virus.

Wearing a mask in public is becoming the norm to stop the spread of COVID-19, even if the reasons why people put one on vary.

“Preference. I’d rather wear it than not wear it for safety reasons,” said Memphis resident Jeremy Douglas.

When FOX13 asked Sidney Hildreth why he was wearing a mask he said, “Because my momma told me too.”

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According to a recent University of Memphis study conducted last week, as many as 92 percent of people surveyed said they are wearing a mask when in public.

“People are free to do what they want,” said Levy. “We just want them to be cautious and protect themselves.”

Dr. Levy and graduate students conducted two studies. One was done in the middle of June before the mask ordinance became law. At that time only 51 percent of people wore a mask in public.

The second study was conducted in July after the mask ordinance became law. The percentage jumped to 92 percent.

Public health experts say they expect to see a benefit.

FOX13 asked Dr. Levy if the infection rate should go down with so mean people wearing a mask.

“It will,” she said. “They should go down. They should go down.”

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FOX13 reviewed the data and discovered people are wearing facial coverings in high numbers regardless of age. It includes adults 19 to 40 where the infection rate is high and mask-wearing was low prior to the ordinance.

“That is a good thing. People are getting the message,” said Levy.

Keep in mind, the study just focused on whether people are wearing a mask in public. Dr. Levy said she hopes the message of limited contact and social distancing is being practiced in private. That is something the study could not examine.

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