UVM survey finds regional divides in mask wearing trends

A University of Vermont student has completed a survey-study on mask-wearing tendencies in Vermont, including who’s wearing them and why.

The study, by UVM medical student Ashleigh Peterson, is titled “A Motivational Interviewing Approach Toward Mask Wearing in Franklin County.”

The author, who openly supports mask-wearing, says her purpose is to “explore barriers to mask-wearing in Franklin County” and “intervene to encourage mask-wearing.” For example, she thanked respondents who say they wear masks, and the study says it is “aiming to normalize the behavior” of wearing a mask.

Peterson found that residents who live in rural areas are four times less likely to wear a mask than their peers in urban areas. The study states that 15 percent of total Vermonters “rarely or never” wear masks in crowded indoor areas. Her study also claims that the average COVID-19 case in Vermont — including non-hospitalized cases, which are the majority of COVID-19 cases in Vermont and about 90 percent of the nation’s cases — is costing Vermont $3,045 per case.

Wikimedia Commons/Nenad Stojkovic

THE NEW NORMAL?: Mask wearing has become a largely politicized and contentious issue for some Vermonters.

The study does not specify if it accounts for perverse financial incentives to tie a case or a death to COVID-19.

According to the author, some people who don’t wear masks “think it’s all a big farce” and so the behavior is “more about rebellion.”

Some prominent voices in government, such as President Donald Trump’s top COVID-19 advisor, Dr. Scott Atlas, have questioned the effectiveness of masks. Atlas also recently urged Michigan residents to “rise up” against COVID-related measures.

Fifty people participated Peterson’s study, including 16 men and 34 women. The median age of respondents was 55. In total, 94 percent answered that they always wear a mask in public; just 6 percent said they don’t wear a mask.

Of those who wear one all the time, 1 in 10 said that the mandate by the state was the primary reason for doing so. About 84 percent said they always wore a mask even before the mandate, which was initiated on Aug. 1.

The study claims that respondents largely were “unsure how or if the mandate will be enforced, which could impact compliance.” It also found that “some reported barriers in the survey were politically-charged.”

On social media, some people have noted Vermont’s mask-wearing tendencies.

Big tech websites have suppressed videos of people speaking out against state COVID responses and mask mandates.  Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Youtube were all accused of censoring a video of a dozen doctors speaking on Capitol Hill earlier this year when they were critical of the mask mandates and hysteria surrounding COVID-19.

Tensions are boiling over as other nations try to impose their own lockdowns and mandates. Most recently police in Berlin, Germany, used water cannons on anti-lockdown protesters who were protesting against COVID-19 lockdown laws that they described as unlawful.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Nenad Stojkovic

10 thoughts on “UVM survey finds regional divides in mask wearing trends

  1. A large percentage of covid infections are occurring in hospitals where one would assume masking and cleaning is top notch. No way to stop viral particles. Luckily data shows this is no worse than the seasonal flu. Wish Dr Phil Scott would read the peer reviewed reports. Lockdowns are killing way more than Covid.

  2. Many articles and doctors (groups) have stated with proof that 85% of the people that wore masks contracted the virus. However an addendum. Notice that people that wear masks cover only their nose and mouth. There are three access points on the face and the uncovered access point is the eyes. Therefore only 2/3 on the face are covered. How many rub their eyes with polluted hands?

    Dread Scott says now if you get the vaccination, you’re free to walk. Shove it governor.

  3. This is utter BS..
    The human body is designed to fight off virus, it’s called an immune system.
    We are under assault every second of our lives from bacteria, virus, any number of things.
    Our body fights it off.
    People that are not healthy, for whatever reasons are at a higher risk and should do what they need to do..
    Wearing a mask is unhealthy and actually weakens your immune system..

    And this is a nation that was formed on individual rights.. no, we are not all in this together.
    This is not a communist country.. or a socialist country.
    We are not a collective.. we are free individual people with our own God Given Rights and Freedoms.

    I find this all to be sickening, how brainwashed and dumb people are.
    From everything to the health of the human body to basic civics classes.
    This is not about Health, this is not about a Virus.
    If this was about Health, we’d be walking right through this just like we did with Polio, that was devastating and attacked children.. people learned, adapted and marched through it because this is what a nation needs to do to keep the ship afloat.
    You don’t wipe out everyone just to deal with one single thing.
    You don’t kill certain people to save others. This is being called a genocide right now, what these people around the world are doing. Even the guy from the WHO is now shouting from the rooftops to stop using lockdowns to fight this.. they are seeing huge off the charts levels of global poverty and starvation that are coming.. and how in the hell are we going to deal with that when we’ve just wiped out our economies!!
    This is Crimes Against Humanity!

    This is about money, politics, failed economics that require a “Great Reset” which they are openly telling us..
    Good Grief, Wake Up!!

    • Good write-up, Laura. Seems as though this has been set up slowly over the past many decades – with the government “taking care” of more and more people, more and more and more.

      Which could be why the lockdowns went relatively smoothly … for awhile. It’s been a telling trial run for the “reset” .

  4. Grandpa always said “one mans statistics is another mans lies”

    mortality rate highest in the world – check china – dah

  5. Questoning masks isn’t about ignorance or “rebellion.” It’s about science:

    “Wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. . . . The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.”
    — “Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid-19 Era,” New England Journal of Medicine

    “Sweeping mask recommendations—as many have proposed—will not reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission, as evidenced by the widespread practice of wearing such masks in Hubei province, China, before and during its mass COVID-19 transmission experience earlier this year. Our review of relevant studies indicates that cloth masks will be ineffective at preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, whether worn as source control or as PPE.”
    — “Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data,” Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

    “There have been extensive randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies, and meta-analysis reviews of RCT studies, which all show that masks and respirators do not work to prevent respiratory influenza-like illnesses, or respiratory illnesses believed to be transmitted by droplets and aerosol particles.”
    — “Masks Don’t Work: A review of science relevant to COVID-19 social policy,” Denis G. Rancourt, PhD, researcher, Ontario Civil Liberties Association

    “The evidence from laboratory filtration studies suggests that fabric masks may reduce the transmission of larger respiratory droplets. There is little evidence regarding transmission of small aerosolized particulates of the size potentially exhaled by asymptomatic or presymptomatic individuals with COVID-19.”
    — The National Academies of Science, Engineering,
    and Medicine

    “Neither surgical nor cotton masks effectively filtered SARS–CoV-2 during coughs by infected patients.”
    — Annals of Internal Medicine

    “In the end, there was no statistically significant difference between those who wore masks and those who did not when it came to being infected by Covid-19.”

    — DANMASK-19, Danish Study to Assess Face Masks for the Protection Against COVID-19 Infection, Nov 18, 2020

    “Our systematic review found no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”
    — “Non-pharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Non-healthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures,” Emerging Infectious Diseases

    “None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection.”
    — “The use of masks and respirators to prevent transmission of influenza: a systematic review of the scientific evidence,” Influenza and other Respiratory Viruses (journal)

    “Overall, the use of masks in the community did not reduce the risk of influenza, confirmed viral respiratory infection, influenza-like illness, or any clinical respiratory infection.”
    — “Masks for prevention of viral respiratory infections among health care workers and the public,”Canadian Family Physician

    “As surgical masks cannot be fitted well to the face, their use may not be adequate for protection against a residual airborne infection hazard.”
    — “Evaluating the protection afforded by surgical masks against influenza bioaerosols,” UK Health and Safety Laboratory

    “The mask prevents transmission from an infected person who also has symptoms of illness. No additional benefit has been scientifically proven.”
    — Professor Pietro Vernazza, chief physician of infectiology at St. Gallen Cantonal Hospital, Switzerland

    “Compared to no masks, there was no reduction of influenza-like illness cases or influenza for masks in the general population, nor in healthcare workers.”
    — “Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses,” T Jefferson, M Jones, et al.

    Or, you can rely on the few poorly constructed and slanted studies done this year that “prove” masks are effective. I’ll side with established science.

    • But Jeff, our Governor and his health commissioner have constantly assured us that their mandates and guidelines are all based on “science and data”. I wonder if either of them have read any of the science articles that you have cited, or if they have ever heard of and read the Great Barrington Declaration. Could it be that none of these support their narrative? Just sayin’

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