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Americans are failing the mask test

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Fairfax, Virginia – I sometimes refer to the COVID-19 pandemic as "the great psychometric test.” We are all being placed under different kinds of strain, and we have the chance to react for better or worse.

One set of tests has concerned masks. There is increasing evidence that masks stem the spread of the virus, yet the United States is not embracing mask-wearing. It is the only major nation that has turned masks into a partisan political issue. That is a psychometric test for this country, and we are failing it.

The next test, I think, will be which institutions can succeed at getting Americans to wear their masks. That in turn will be a test of which institutions Americans truly trust — or are at least willing to defer to.

So far it doesn’t seem that our public health authorities are going to take that crown. No systematic data are available, but in my home area of Fairfax County, mask-wearing seemed much more common a few weeks ago than it is today. Where I go and what I see is obviously not a scientific sample, but of course what I should be seeing is mask-wearing rising visibly and sharply, approaching near-universality. That is not the case. And by no means is it only Trump supporters........

© The Japan Times