World|Most Americans have been wearing masks since spring, the C.D.C. says.

Credit…Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Despite President Trump’s very public resistance to mask-wearing for much of this year, a newly released survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that a vast majority of Americans of all ages have been wearing face coverings since April.

The data, released in the agency’s weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report, is roughly in line with other polls showing that most Americans report wearing masks, at least when they are inside stores.

For example, Pew Research reported in August that 85 percent of 13,200 adults they surveyed said they wore masks in stores, up from 65 percent in June.

In a National Geographic poll released early this month, 92 percent of 2,200 Americans surveyed said they always or sometimes wore a mask when leaving the house.

The C.D.C. data, based on three monthly surveys with about 2,000 Americans each time, cover only the period from April to June.

A C.D.C. spokesman attributed the delay in the release of the surveys findings because of “the overwhelming amount of research going on at the agency.”

The survey asked about six risk-mitigation behaviors: mask-wearing, hand-washing, keeping six feet away from others, canceling social activities, avoiding crowds and avoiding restaurants.

In general, the older respondents were, the more of those measures they took. But as early as April, 70 percent of all those aged 18 to 29 reported wearing masks, while 84 percent of those older than 60 did.

By June, 86 percent of young Americans said they were wearing them while 92 percent of the seniors said they were.

Frequent hand-washing or sanitizing was equally popular, but it dropped slightly among all age groups from April to June as scientists realized that the virus was more likely to be transmitted by a mist of tiny droplets than by picking it up from surfaces.

The least popular measures among all age groups were “canceling or postponing pleasure, social or recreational activities” and “avoiding all or some restaurants.”

In their analysis of the data, the authors observed: “Lower engagement in mitigation behaviors among younger adults might be one reason for the increased incidence of Covid-19 cases in this group, which have been shown to precede increases among those 60 years or older.”

The findings, the authors concluded, show the need for clear advice for Americans, “especially for young adults,” to protect themselves, including by wearing masks.

On Friday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said on CNN that “if people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it.”

Originally posted on https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/27/world/most-americans-have-been-wearing-masks-since-spring-the-cdc-says.html