NY1 Spectrum News reported that the MTA says more than nine in 10 subway and bus rides are wearing masks, a welcoming number considering mask and quarantine fatigue is a real thing and can be seen around parts of the city. That’s 93% of riders protecting themselves and others from coronavirus transmission.
However, 15% of people wearing masks are wearing them incorrectly. That means the below-the-nose wearers or even the chin-strap chic look, which defeat the purpose of wearing a mask.
MTA Chief Safety Officer Pat Warren stressed the importance of mask-wearing as many weight their options heading back to work amid the ongoing pandemic.
“We can’t get lax. This is, again, the most important, most useful tool to fight the COVID-19 virus, as our health advisors tell us,” Warren said, via NY1.
There has been a slight dip in ridership wearing masks. The report notes the last full two-week survey, which was completed July 27 to August 7, showed 87% of subway riders wearing masks, which fell by 4% in the previous study. It also notes that bus riders were more likely to wear masks compared to those on the subway.
Properly wearing a mask seems to be something people forget as they frequent places and head back to work. The unwanted trend has been dubbed “half-masking,” and studies have shown that when your nose is uncovered, it can heighten the risk of infection.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill found that COVID-19 can infect you through the nose because COVId-19 infects cells that can be found on the tiny hairs inside your nose.
Dr. Todd Ellerin from Massachusetts told Good Morning America that it’s extremely important to keep the nose covered at all times.
“It’s imperative for us to mask it as much as possible. Not only outdoors, but as the seasons of changing indoors and especially we want to make sure that the nose is covered because, think about it. The viruses use those receptors in the nose,” Ellerin told the network. “Think of it as a molecular doorway to enter the cells and that’s the first phase of infection.”
As for why people just can’t wear masks properly, Ellerin said it has to do with mask fatigue.
“One of the reasons maybe that it’s more comfortable when you’re wearing a mask for a longer period of time. It can be more difficult to breathe than when you have the nose exposed,” he said.
Considering it’s been six months since the pandemic shutdown our day-to-day, it can be puzzling understanding why mask-wearing is still a topic of debate. The safest masks to wear remain the N95 masks that are used by medical professionals. Neck gaiters, bandanas, and other thinner-fabric face-coverings recently were found to be pointless in protecting yourself and others.
If you’re still on the fence about wearing a mask, you should know: Wearing a mask might even score you a date.