Black, Latino people more likely to remain masked during pandemic, polls show

White Americans, who reportedly have lower rates of COVID-related infection, hospitalizations and death, are less likely to mask up, according to the polls.

Black and Latino Americans are more likely than whites or non-Hispanic people to continue wearing masks in public, according to two new polls. 

As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll from April surveyed 1,085 people and found that 71 percent of Black respondents and 59 percent of Hispanic respondents prefer mask mandates for traveling on public transportation, compared with 52 percent of white, non-Hispanic people. 

New polls have found that Black and Hispanic people are more likely to wear masks in public spaces than white, non-Hispanic people. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

A separate poll conducted in the spring by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) surveyed 1,243 adults and found that 81percent of Black Americans still wear a mask when “indoors in public places,” compared with 65 percent of Hispanics and 39 percent of white, non-Hispanics, per the report. 

Since the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eased mask requirements for travel and public indoor spaces, most Americans no longer wear them. However, Black people are not taking any chances when it comes to COVID-19, especially after repeatedly being told by health experts that people of color are more impacted by the virus compared with other groups.  

It seems white people are less likely to see the need to mask up when they reportedly have lower rates of COVID-related infection, hospitalizations and death. The economic and mental health toll has also impacted Black and Latino people the most, according to reports. 

“What we see is, the more [white] people perceive there to be racial disparities in impact, the more likely they will not be in support of mask-wearing,” said Allison L. Skinner-Dorkenoo, UGA psychology professor. She is also co-author of a recent study that concluded that white Americans are less likely to fear the potentially deadly coronavirus if they believe Black and Hispanic people are at greater risk of contracting it. 

According to the AJ-C, Dr. Oni Blackstock, an HIV physician and founder of the consulting practice Health Justice, noted that “the lack of federal guidance on mask-wearing has turned into an individual level of intervention.” Blackstock added, “I’m not surprised at the poll findings, thinking about which communities are more at risk.”

Earlier this year, the Black Coalition Against COVID released an 18-page report titled The State of Black America and COVID-19: A Two-Year Assessment. It discloses that Black Americans are being studied for chronic symptoms that linger after the acute infection (long COVID), yet the ongoing racial disparity in health means they are also likely experiencing a lack of access to treatment. Additionally, Black people are not being sufficiently studied in trials, treatment programsand registries, it says. 

The Black Coalition also found that Black people are “more likely to report experiencing anxiety and/or depression because of the pandemic,” compared with whites.

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