Experts around the world have agreed that wearing masks is one of the most effective ways to curtail the spread of COVID-19. A new study out of the UW found that in the United States, masks have become a partisan issue. This research is part of the UW COVID-19 state policy projecrt, led by associate political science professor Christoper Adolph and chair of the political science department John Wilkerson. This project goal is understading what made states more or less likely to adopt these policies, and also to support all the research happening in variety of areas that on understading exactly what the states are doing at different times.
This study highlights what may be the single largest reason that the United States is trailing the world in containing the coronavirus and raises the question of how long those in power will allow politics to overrule common sense, Adolph explained. “This is a public health policy that is very clearly driven by partisanship,” he said. “And that's tragic, because wearing masks works, is incredibly cheap, and helps us reduce our reliance on far more costly and painful social distancing.”