How many people in DC are properly wearing masks? Depends on where you are

How many people are complying with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s mandate requiring face masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus? The answer depends on where you are in the District.

In a visual survey of over 4,200 residents over the past month, the D.C. Department of Health said, overall, it found 78% of people were wearing masks when out in public, but only 72% wearing them were wearing them correctly.

“There’s often slippage where the nose is not adequately or properly covered,” said D.C. Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt.

Compliance with mask-wearing differs quite a bit by ward.

According to Nesbitt, the highest percentage of people observed wearing a mask correctly was in Ward 2 — where 84% of people were seen properly wearing face coverings — and the lowest was in Ward 7, where only 55% were.

Here’s a full rundown of where in D.C. people are properly wearing masks:

  • Ward 1: 80%
  • Ward 2: 84%
  • Ward 3: 80%
  • Ward 4: 68%
  • Ward 5: 70%
  • Ward 6: 69%
  • Ward 7: 55%
  • Ward 8: 58%

D.C. Health also collected data on mask-wearing by age.

“Our seniors are leading the way in being good examples for us,” Nesbitt said, citing 73% of seniors wearing masks correctly, and only 16% not wearing them.

The age group least likely to be wearing masks properly were those between 5-18.

“We know that it can be a little bit of a challenge for a rambunctious younger person to use the mask,” Nesbitt said, adding that it’s important to make sure teens are properly wearing masks, “especially when they are out by themselves and not supervised by adults.”


More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.


About 59% of the children and teens were wearing masks correctly, with almost 22% not wearing them at all.

About 71% of those aged 19-40 wore masks correctly, and over 70% of ages 41-64 wore them correctly.

D.C. Health also looked at proper mask-wearing by gender.

Nesbitt said that women “who are required to wear a mask wear their mask correctly more often than men,” citing 79% correct mask-wearing by women and only 67% for men.

Bowser was asked if she would start to institute fines for people who don’t wear masks, but the mayor said she would like to see more education on proper mask-wearing instead of citations.

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