University of Memphis Public Health Study finds more people are wearing masks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis is masking up to protect ourselves.  That is the finding of a new University of Memphis survey that found 96 percent of people it observed wore a mask last month.  

Brianna Nolen told FOX13 she wears a mask when she goes out and said she actually uses some of them as a fashion accessory.  

“I have a mask for work. I have masks for different outfits. They’re actually cute, some of them are,” said Nolen.

WATCH: U of M study shows more people are wearing masks

Nolen is not alone in wearing a mask often, according to a University of Memphis Public Health study.

A team of researchers has been tracking the percentage of people wearing a mask in public at 20 retails sites across Shelby County since July.  They found people are getting the message to mask up.  

Marian Levy, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean of the University of Memphis School of Public Health.

“Most recently in August, it went up to 96 percent so that is very good news. It is good news that people have received the message, that they are wearing masks in public,” said Dr. Levy.

Levy shared the results of her survey that show mask compliance is in the 90 percentile for all age groups, with people 55 and older seen wearing a face-covering 97 percent of the time in public. 

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“I think people have adopted the mask as ‘normative culture’. And they realize they need to protect the whole community,” she said.

The survey was conducted before the Labor Day weekend so we won’t know what impact the holiday will have on the rate of infection. 

Levy said she does believe that as we approach the fall, the numbers might inch up because of the weather.

"In the summer it was very hot. Masks were uncomfortable and it was very hot to wear a mask. As the weather gets cooler, hopefully, it will be less of a burden to wear a mask,” she said.

Dr. Levy and her student observers will conduct another study in a few weeks. She told FOX13 she is hoping the overall compliance rate will go above 96 percent but as a researcher, she doubts it will ever hit 100%.

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