Good afternoon, readers.
Wearing masks has become a political flashpoint during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s mystified and dismayed public health experts I’ve spoken with, especially as cases continue to surge across the country, but that’s where we are.
A new NBC/SurveyMonkey poll shows that Republicans and Democrats are heavily divided on mandatory mask requirements by local governments or even private facilities. And that’s despite the fact that more than 40% of some 45,000 people surveyed in the poll are “very worried” the coronavirus will have a negative impact on their household finances and 37% are very worried that someone in their own family will be exposed to the coronavirus.
“97 percent of Democrats and those who lean Democratic say they wear masks at least most of the time when they leave their homes and might be in contact with others,” according to NBC. That number falls to 70 percent of Republicans or those who say they lean Republican in the poll.
It’s encouraging that a large majority of both parties are still being cautious about wearing masks, which public health officials and medical experts have stressed time and time again is one of the most effective ways of containing this virus’ spread. But that’s still a major gap that, unfortunately, appears to stem from mixed messaging and partisan politics.
I spoke with one leading expert from the Cleveland Clinic just this morning about how a refusal to wear masks is only exacerbating other problems down the COVID-19 supply chain. A pandemic is an especially unfortunate time for grandstanding and politicking.
Read on for the day’s news.