SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory - Winter Weather Advisory - Winter Storm Warning - High Wind Warning View Alerts

Women do better at mask wearing and other measures to stop spread of Covid-19, research suggests

Wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands regularly are the best ways we have to stop the spread of Covid-19.But when it comes to these cruc...

Posted: Oct 8, 2020 3:32 PM

Wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands regularly are the best ways we have to stop the spread of Covid-19.

But when it comes to these crucial habits, it appears that women are more likely to be following these steps to a greater degree than men, according to a new study.

To reach their conclusions, the researchers at New York University and Yale University examined survey data, street observations and analysis of smartphone movements.

Women aren't just better at taking preventative measures, researchers said. They also found that women were also more likely to listen to experts and express alarm and anxiety in response to Covid-19, the study, which was published this week in the journal Behavioral Science & Policy, said.

Their survey of 800 people found that women were more likely than men to say they maintained social distance, stayed at home, washed hands frequently and mixed less with family and friends. The only measure that didn't have a gender difference was the frequency of contact with people other than friends or family.

However, self-reported behavior doesn't always accurately represent actual behavior, so the researchers also looked at pedestrians and mask wearing in three different US locations -- New York City, New Haven, Connecticut and New Brunswick, New Jersey -- to see how many people wore masks.

They found that 55% of women wore masks properly compared with 38% of men -- even though gender distribution in these zip codes was roughly equal. They observed 127 women and 173 men on May 4-5 this year.

In the third part of their study, to measure social distancing among the wider US population, the researchers used GPS data from 15 million smart phones to track overall movement and visits to non-essential stores like spas, florists and fitness facilities between March 9 and May 29.

The results showed that counties with a higher percentage of males showed comparatively less social distancing. These differences, the researchers said, remained even after accounting for Covid-19 cases per capita in these counties, the presence of stay-at-home orders and other demographic characteristics -- such as income, education and profession -- that could influence whether people worked from home or were more likely to work in sectors deemed essential.

In many senses, the researchers said the findings weren't surprising -- it's long been known that women are better hand washers than men. And a 2016 review that looked at research from dozens of different countries found that women were 50% more likely than men to practice, or increase, protective behavior like proper hand-washing, mask-wearing and surface cleaning in the context of an epidemic, like flu.

"Previous research before the pandemic shows that women had been visiting doctors more frequently in their daily lives and following their recommendations more so than men," said Irmak Olcaysoy Okten, a postdoctoral researcher in New York University's Department of Psychology and the paper's lead author, in a press statement.

"They also pay more attention to the health-related needs of others," Okten said. "So it's not surprising that these tendencies would translate into greater efforts on behalf of women to prevent the spread of the pandemic."

She added that fine-tuning health messages to better target men could be an effective strategy to reduce the spread of the virus.

"Policymakers might target men's illusions of invulnerability ... and remind them of their responsibilities to others and themselves during this critical period. Disseminating prevention messages particularly in places where men frequently get together can be an effective strategy," the study suggested.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 138587

Reported Deaths: 1882
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah29216464
Washington19330179
Marion16787248
Clackamas12085141
Lane8803113
Jackson718996
Umatilla701173
Deschutes521240
Yamhill330849
Linn321950
Malheur320155
Polk258740
Klamath255046
Josephine185436
Benton182314
Douglas178545
Jefferson173825
Union115417
Wasco112523
Columbia107618
Lincoln103817
Coos102015
Hood River98621
Morrow96710
Clatsop7075
Crook66213
Baker5835
Tillamook3712
Curry3255
Lake2575
Grant2171
Harney1826
Wallowa993
Gilliam531
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3213222

Reported Deaths: 37543
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles107967215314
San Bernardino2660281678
Riverside2643632857
Orange2377082704
San Diego2286322375
Santa Clara985831264
Kern90564591
Fresno858081067
Sacramento841101185
Alameda70823896
Ventura66402525
San Joaquin59665835
Contra Costa55245489
Stanislaus49065796
Tulare43574542
Monterey37527259
San Mateo34294340
San Francisco30559293
Santa Barbara27149267
Solano27041115
Imperial25707510
Merced25575331
Sonoma25141251
Kings20138161
Placer17839188
San Luis Obispo16957158
Madera14000151
Santa Cruz13009135
Marin12024165
Yolo11210138
Shasta10054129
Butte9820136
El Dorado818462
Sutter806983
Napa800548
Lassen526916
San Benito522351
Yuba517630
Tehama446846
Tuolumne347740
Nevada335574
Mendocino329336
Amador306733
Lake272432
Humboldt262427
Glenn202622
Colusa18719
Calaveras170423
Siskiyou149913
Mono11454
Inyo105129
Del Norte8742
Plumas6135
Modoc3903
Mariposa3555
Trinity3065
Sierra950
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Medford
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 30°
Brookings
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 31°
Medford
Mostly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 20° Lo: 4°
Feels Like: 30°
Medford
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 30°
Klamath Falls
Mostly Cloudy
15° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 6°
Powerful winter storm
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events