The partisan culture war over masks - 2020-05-13
Infected people wearing masks are less likely to spray virus-containing droplets onto others, which means that universal mask-wearing should, in theory, make everyone safer. There's some evidence from across the world that suggests the widespread use of masks has played a role in reducing coronavirus transmission. Studies on mask-wearing generally support it, finding that masks generally provide at least some protection. At worst, masks are a low-cost intervention that might help at the margins.
But in recent weeks, mask-wearing in the United States has become another flashpoint in the partisan culture wars.
President Trump refuses to wear a mask in public appearances — including one at a factory that produces masks — or in his office, despite a recent outbreak among the White House staff. Vice President Mike Pence opted not to wear one when he visited the Mayo Clinic, a prominent medical facility in Minnesota that's treating coronavirus patients. Many Republicans in Congress have opted not to wear masks on the House and Senate floors, despite several members of their caucus testing positive for the illness earlier this spring.