Men and Women Differ on Masks During, After COVID-19: Survey

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More women than men plan to wear a mask due to COVID-19 as long as public health experts like those at the CDC recommend it, according to a survey conducted by WebMD.

They survey shows that 73% of women will keep wearing masks “while recommended by public health experts,” compared with 63% of men.

In contrast, 126 people said they “do not wear a mask,” including 6% of women and 11% of men.

Their answers are included in responses from 1,557 WebMD readers who were surveyed between April 1-5, 2021. A total of 2,181 adults participated in all or part of the survey. The margin of error was plus/minus 2.1%.

Other responses to the question “How long do you plan to routinely wear a mask due to COVID-19?” included until “I’m fully vaccinated.” A total 131 respondents chose this answer, including 5% of women and 9% of men.

Only nine people indicated they would wear a mask until they receive the first dose of one of the vaccines.

Another 176 respondents said they would wear a mask as long as their workplace or school requires it, including 8% of women and 10% of men.

Another 166 people chose “other” when asked how long they would wear a mask due to COVID-19, including 7% of women and 6% of men.

Respondents had the option to explain this choice. Comments included “forever,” “long term,” and “for the rest of my entire life. Not joking either.” Other explanations included “until I feel safe,” “if required in a business that I enter,” and “until fully vaccinated.”

Mask After COVID-19?

The survey also asked: “Apart from the COVID pandemic, at what other times do you plan to wear a mask in the future?” Unlike the first question, where people could only select one response, this question allowed respondents to select all answers that applied.

With the exception of “other,” all answers differed significantly between men and women.

For example, 38% of women and 27% of men planned to wear a mask during the traditional cold and flu season.


Also, 54% of women vs. 40% of men plan to wear a mask “when ill.” A slightly lower percentage said they would wear a mask when others are ill, 52% of women and 37% of men.

Furthermore, 47% of women and 37% of men plan to wear a mask in crowded public places. Asked specifically about public transportation, 34% of women and 26% of men plan to put on a mask.

Interestingly, 17% of women and 30% of men said they plan to “never” wear a mask apart from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the 8% of women and 7% of men who chose “other” expanded on their answer. “When I feel it’s necessary,” “not sure,” and “at the doctor’s office” were among the responses.

Answers by Age

Responses to the two survey questions also varied by age. The survey classified age into three groups: younger than 35, 35 to 54 years, and 55 and older.

The only significant difference among all age groups was people who indicated they “do not wear a mask” in response to the first question about how long they plan to wear such protection because of COVID-19. The breakdown was 11% of those under 35, 9% of those between 35 and 54, and 4% of the oldest age group.

Those who said they never plan to wear a mask outside the COVID-19 pandemic included 22% of the youngest group, 25% of those 35 to 54 years old, and 17% of the 55 and older group.

Older respondents to question 2 also indicated they plan to take more precautions in crowded locations: 50% of the 55-and-older group plan to wear a mask, compared with 41% of the middle-age group and 38% of the youngest group.

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