CDC warns young Americans are least likely to wear face masks

Chris Riotta
·3-min read
A Ryanair passenger claims she was told to wear another passenger’s used surgical mask over her own cloth one (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
A Ryanair passenger claims she was told to wear another passenger’s used surgical mask over her own cloth one (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has warned Americans aged 18 to 29 are among those least likely to follow Covid-19 restrictions and that “behavior-modification interventions” were required to combat the spread of the novel virus.

A new survey the CDC released on Tuesday revealed a significant overall increase in the wearing of face masks among the general US population throughout the pandemic, with 89 percent of those polled in June reporting they have worn masks in observance of Covid-19 restrictions in recent months, compared to 78 percent in April. More than 2,000 people were surveyed as part of the national poll.

However, the increase in mask wearing was smaller among those aged 18 to 29, of which 86.1% reported wearing masks, according to the survey.

The CDC said just 69.6 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 reported wearing face masks in April.

The CDC said in its report: “These findings underscore the need to prioritize clear, targeted messaging and behavior-modification interventions, especially for young adults.”

“Although younger people are less likely to suffer the most serious complications of COVID-19, the infection can still be serious in some cases,” the researchers wrote. “Even those with mild cases or who are asymptomatic can spread the virus to older people, who are most vulnerable.”

With more than 8.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases across the country and over 227,000 Americans having died as a result of the pandemic, the spread of Covid-19 infections is continuing to rise in a majority of states across the country. Meanwhile, under President Donald Trump, the federal government has urged states and localities to reopen businesses, restaurants and schools.

The Trump administration’s recommendations have at times appeared in direct defiance of CDC guidelines: the president has repeatedly encouraged school districts nationwide to reopen even without the proper resources to curb the spread of infections, incorrectly insisting at times that young people could not be harmed by the virus.

The CDC has documented a spike in Covid-19 cases among young Americans and people in the US aged 18-22, linking at least some of those cases to schools and universities resuming in-person classes and training during the pandemic. Thousands of new cases have emerged on campuses across the country, with some schools being forced to shut down after super spreader events at parties held by new and returning college students.

Mr Trump has received a bevy of criticism for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as his own Covid-19 diagnosis, refusing to wear a mask on several high-profile occasions and only revealing his positive diagnosis after it was reported by several news outlets.

It remains unclear to this day when the president first knew he tested positive for the virus, a fact that was reported days after he participated in the first presidential debates against former Vice President Joe Biden, and during a week in which he traveled across the country for a series of campaign fundraising events.

Since his doctors have cleared him for travel, Mr Trump has hit the campaign trail and held frequent in-person rallies in states dealing with major Covid-19 outbreaks. At many of those events, mask-wearing is often encouraged but lightly enforced and audience members are typically seen mingling without any protection.

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