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Encouraging Safe Behavior During the Pandemic

June 30, 2020

People infected with Covid-19 but who lack symptoms are responsible for about half of all Covid-19 transmissions. Some of them will soon develop symptoms; some never will and might erroneously believe they are immune. Covering their nose and mouth with a fine-mesh mask, bandana or scarf will significantly reduce the virus-laden droplets from their coughs and sneezes and much of the aerosolized virus they exhale. When they don’t cover their nose and mouth and don’t maintain adequate social distancing, these infected people are unknowingly spreading disease, killing some people and causing permanent organ damage to others.

It really is that simple. Cover your mouth and nose and you probably won’t kill anyone. Most of us are doing it. Don’t cover them and you’re no better than a drunk driver plowing through a crowd, leaving destruction and death in your wake. Many countries are ticketing, fining, arresting, trying and jailing their antisocial maskless who fail to take responsibility for their own actions.

How To Wear Your Mask: a 78 second video


People predicted a second wave in the fall. Dr. Fauci said recently, “We’re still in a first wave.” In my opinion the second wave is even now upon us, rolling right over the still-moving first wave. The main reason? People who don’t wear their masks and congregate in large groups.

If there is one thing that will prolong our national pandemic misery, that will keep businesses and schools closed and people out of work and out of class, it’s the maskless behavior of those who think the pandemic is already over, or simply don’t care.

Which brings us to the problem of how to encourage the maskless to be good citizens. The two following articles address that situation.

Greater Good’s Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus

The first is excerpted from the article “Five Ways to Encourage Safe Behavior during the Pandemic” and gives five tips applicable to anyone.

The second is excerpted from the article “Hey, Big Guy, how about wearing a Mask for me?” and gives four tips specifically designed for dealing with men because, you know, men often have their “special” concerns.

I encourage everyone to read the synopses below, then read the original articles.
[Chuck Almdale]

Five Ways to Encourage Safe Behavior During the Pandemic

Research provides some tips on how to get each other to wear masks, wash our hands, and keep distance.

  • Appeal to concern for others: Most people naturally care about others’ welfare and will often act cooperatively for the benefit of our group. Appealing to our prosocial tendencies is important in a pandemic.
  • Be a role model: Some people can’t adapt to long periods of risk. Others are “free riders” who take advantage of others’ cooperative behavior to benefit themselves, such as going maskless or avoiding vaccines. These “Free Riders” can poison cooperative action, as being prosocial comes at a cost of personal freedom. The prosocial may feel they are being taken advantage of.
  • Appeal to common humanity and shared values: In a polarized society, people may deliberately do the opposite of whatever the “other” group recommends. Encourage people to remember they are also Americans, parents, or community members, for example — to help the norm spread. Create new norms around behaviors like wearing masks or staying indoors.
  • Make messages authoritative and consistent: Prosociality helps keep people focused on being cooperative rather than looking out only for themselves. U.S. authorities are sending confusing messages. Take responsibility for controlling your own message — to family, coworkers, and on social media. Perhaps our leaders will follow.
  • Make the positive impact visible: People need to hear that their actions are helping to lower hospitalization and death rates. Express gratitude for others’ prosocial behavior and they will “pay it forward” and help others. Neighborhood groups helps build community. We need to think of ourselves as one big human family all trying to fight this virus together.

Hey, Big Guy, how about wearing a mask for me?

Four ways to get the swaggeringly toxic mask-averse males of the species to don face coverings in public to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. M-A-S-K.

By Adam Tschorn | June 27, 2020
Los Angeles Times

  • M – Make it about the community, not the individual
    The biggest motivator is a mandatory mask order, as then the gender differences on the intention to wear a mask almost disappear. Lacking that, emphasizing the benefit on one’s community rather than one’s family, country or one’s self works best.
  • A – Appeal to patriotism
    It worked during the 1918-19 “Spanish Flu” pandemic, when the Red Cross urged people to “do their part” and called the noncompliant “slackers.” Point out that we can’t “return to normalcy” until the pandemic is actually over, and it’s still far from over.
  • S – Stick with the stereotypes
    Tough-looking manly masks with camouflage, shark teeth, team affiliations, red MAGA masks, lumberjack plaids, tractors, cigars, handlebar mustaches. Mexican wrestlers wear masks! Real men battling a dire threat.
  • K – Key into Humor
    Men often joke about their problems: marriage, work, their bodies. PSA’s featuring Darth Vader, the Rock, Batman, Superman, boxers and wrestlers, SWAT, military leaders, commandos, Special Forces and Seals, hamming it up while showing how it’s done.

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