Skip to Content

Most Americans May Keep Wearing Masks, Distancing Even After Pandemic: Survey

MONDAY, Feb. 8, 2021 -- Wearing masks, frequent hand-washing and avoiding large crowds may not have been part of the American culture before the coronavirus pandemic began, but those habits are likely to stick around for a while, new research suggests.

A national survey from Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center of more than 2,000 Americans shows that a majority of people don't plan to return to their old ways anytime soon.

The survey found that 9 of 10 Americans will continue frequent hand-washing and sanitizer use after COVID-19, while 4 of 5 will still avoid crowds. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they planned to continue wearing masks in public.

"While the progress we're making toward recovery is exciting, it is critical that we don't ease up on the precautions that we know have worked thus far," said survey leader Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at Wexner Medical Center.

"Masks and physical distancing are still our very best weapons for limiting spread, and now that we have a vaccine it will make those precautions even more effective and will drive new cases way down if we stay the course," he said in a university news release.

These behaviors may help ease people's anxiety about returning to public spaces and provide a sense of control, researchers said. Some societal changes forced by the pandemic may also continue, including telehealth for medical appointments and working from home.

Gonsenhauser pointed to this year's flu season as proof of the effectiveness of behaviors such as hand-washing, social distancing and mask wearing.

"Flu cases and hospitalizations are way down compared to recent years, and a lot of that is likely because precautions like masking, physical distancing and hand hygiene are absolutely working for flu," Gonsenhauser said. "I think a lot of people are realizing that what we've learned from COVID-19 can be applied more generally to keep our population healthy."

© 2021 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Read this next

How Moving the Homeless to Hotels During the Pandemic Helps Everyone

FRIDAY, March 5, 2021 -- Giving homeless COVID-19 patients a free hotel room for their quarantine and recovery pays huge health dividends for the entire community, according to a...

When Facebook, Twitter Flag Posts as 'Unverified,' Readers Listen

FRIDAY, March 5, 2021 -- Readers pay attention when social media sites label an article as "unverified" or "suspicious," a new study suggests. But how an article is presented --...

It's Too Soon to Lift COVID Restrictions: Fauci

FRIDAY, March 5, 2021 (Healthday News) -- Coronavirus restrictions should not be lifted until the daily toll of new U.S. cases falls below 10,000, "and maybe even considerably...

More News Resources

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of Drugs.com in your inbox.