Many Americans have embraced health officials’ recommendation to wear masks in public, but those who refuse to mask up are likely to encounter increasing pressure in the coming weeks and months.
There is a “sizable minority” of Americans who are skeptical, Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told USA TODAY — evidenced in part by numerous viral videos showing shoppers flouting mask rules.
Critics often say mask mandates infringe on their personal freedom. Some right-leaning Americans have called masks a tool of oppression, Democratic conspiracy, and even sacrilege.
But growing evidence shows face coverings are an effective way of slowing the spread of COVID-19, leading more state leaders to enact mask mandates. On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, went so far as to say face coverings were “the only way” to avoid another shutdown of the state’s economy.
Local officials voting to require face