Use of Face Masks in India During COVID-19 : An Exploration of the Behavioral Tendencies of Mask Users

Shalini Soni , Sirisha Deepthi Sornapudi and Sudha Babel


Covid-19 has necessitated mask use to safeguard oneself from coronavirus. The mask usage and safety practices followed by the public in India are reported in this paper. Sixty per cent of the subjects purchased masks on their own while 19 per cent stitched their masks; masks were used regularly (76%) for less than 4 hours (64.22%). During the lockdown, at workplaces, masks were removed for less than 30 minutes per day. Subjects reported that safety feeling was experienced when masks were donned (87%); felt that masks were unnecessary in Covid-19 unaffected areas/cities (67 %); whilst 47 per cent admitted to pulling down masks during use. An interesting fact emerging from the study was that the younger populace adhered less conscientiously to regular mask use as opposed to the elderly; paradoxically the elderly (49 and above) were the ones to pull down masks more frequently during use than the younger ones. Amongst them, 25 per cent repeated it 1-2 times a day. It was heartening to observe that most people (89%) exercised caution during mask use. A positive significant relationship existed between age and employer modes on regular mask usage; a highly positive significant relation was seen between the employment sector and regular mask use and a negative correlation among profession and mask use. Two-way ANOVA between demographic data on type and regular mask use yielded a significant difference. A highly significant relationship between gender, employer mode, and profession on different types of safety measures; and a significant relationship between the level of education and safety measures were found.

Keyword: Covid-19; Facemask; Mask-wearing pattern; Safety practices.

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