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Women Are Better Than Men at Wearing Masks and Following Coronavirus Precautions, Study Finds

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In most states, people are required to wear a mask in public places to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. But women do a far better job of wearing masks than men, a new study found.

Women are also more likely than men to follow all COVID-19 precautions, like washing hands, staying home and social distancing. Plus, they’re more likely to follow news about the virus from medical experts, their governor, social media and by reading about how other countries have handled the pandemic — and in turn, experience anxiety and alarm.

For the study, published in the journal Behavioral Science & Policy, researchers at New York University and Yale University surveyed 800 people about their COVID-19 habits, counted mask-wearers on the street over two days and analyzed Americans’ movements with smartphone data.

RELATED: COVID-19 Cases Dropped 15 Percent in South Carolina Areas with Mask Mandates, Increased Without Them

From the survey, they found that women were better at following guidelines in four ways — they were more likely to say they were social distancing, staying home, washing their hands frequently and avoiding meetups with different friends and family. There was no significant difference, though, between men and women in how often they reported having contact with people who are not friends or family.

For the second part of the study, the researchers watched men and women on the street for two days in New York City as well as New Haven, Connecticut, and New Brunswick, New Jersey, to count how many people were wearing masks. Out of 127 women and 173 men spotted, 55 percent of women were correctly wearing their masks, while just 38 percent of men wore them properly.

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The last measurement for the study was an analysis of GPS data from 14 million cell phones across the U.S., to see Americans’ movements and any trips to non-essential locations, such as spas, gyms and florists. The researchers found that counties with a higher percentage of men had lower rates of social distancing.

Even when the researchers accounted for areas where people were unable to work from home or did not have stay-at-home orders, men were still more likely to violate social distancing.

RELATED: If All Americans Wore Masks ‘We Could Drive This Epidemic to the Ground,’ Says CDC Director

The researchers said their findings are in line with past research on the difference in health habits between genders.

“Previous research before the pandemic shows that women had been visiting doctors more frequently in their daily lives and following their recommendations more so than men,” Irmak Olcaysoy Okten, a postdoctoral researcher in New York University’s Department of Psychology and lead author of the study, said in a press release.

“They

When Can You Stop Wearing A Face Mask To Protect From COVID-19?

#PandemicLife has been going for what feels like forever (real time: six months), and the whole thing is starting to feel endless. With restrictions on just about every aspect of life and the constant need to wear face masks in public, it’s only natural to wonder when the novel coronavirus pandemic will end. Or, at the very least, when you can stop wearing face masks everywhere.

Sure, you already know that face masks are one of several crucial ways you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). With more than 200,000 deaths in the U.S. and seven million confirmed cases (and counting!), per Johns Hopkins, strapping on a mask is a pretty small sacrifice to make for the greater good of all. Especially the elderly or immunocompromised among us. But no one is denying that face masks can be uncomfortable, hot, and annoying at times.

So . . . when can you be done with them? Here’s what you need to know about when you might be able to stop wearing a face mask for good:

There’s no hard end date when you can stop wearing a face mask.

To be honest, there’s not even a clear timeline in place. “It’s very difficult to say, considering the number of cases in the world are still increasing,” says Rajeev Fernando, MD, an infectious-disease expert in Southampton, N.Y. “We just have to watch and wait.”

Fernando anticipates that mask wearing will continue “at least through the winter season, but possibly longer.”

Given how common face masks are now, experts expect that they’ll continue to be used even in a post-pandemic world—when we eventually get there.

“There are thousands of respiratory viruses out there, and masks can help protect against them,” Fernando says. “Eventually, it will become good practice to always wear face masks out in public, especially during the winter.”

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The face mask timeline also depends on whether there’s a COVID-19 vaccine.

A good vaccine for COVID-19 needs to be developed before we can stop wearing face masks, says Richard Watkins, MD, an infectious-disease physician in Akron, Ohio, and a professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University.

Even then, he says, people will need to wait until “the vaccine is widely available and experts think herd immunity has been reached.” (Herd immunity, in case you’re not familiar with it, is a situation where a sufficient enough portion of the population is immune to an infectious disease, through infection or vaccination, to make person-to-person spread unlikely.)

It’s unclear at this point exactly what percentage of the population would need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to reach herd immunity, Fernando says.

But Watkins doesn’t expect mask mandates to loosen up much before then. “It is