The Number of People Wearing Face Masks in the US Is Surging and Fashion Brands Are Stepping Up

Nikara Johns

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As the coronavirus pandemic continues in the U.S., wearing face masks has become a major topic for debate. After some conflicting reports in early March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended cloth face coverings but some Americans have questioned their reliability compared with surgical masks or N-95 respirators.

While many Americans had been slower on adapting to the safety precaution at the beginning of the outbreak— compared with other regions including in Asia, where masks have been popular for years —  lately there has been a surge.

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According to a YouGov survey, the share of Americans who wore face masks drastically increased from 17% at the start of April to 63% by the month’s end.

In addition, a state-by-state analysis from YouGov revealed some states are significantly more likely to adopt face masks than others — with Hawaii being the biggest stand out. The island state had the highest share of people who wore a face mask in public at 58%, with New Jersey and the District of Columbia following with 56% each, based on a poll conducted from March 26 to April 29. The lowest rates of face mask adoption were recorded in Iowa and Montana at 29% and 23%, respectively.

With the increased need for face masks, many fashion brands are stepping up.

For instance, Banana Republic’s soft masks sold out in minutes when they debuted and the brand just restocked the product this morning. Owned by The Gap, two of the Banana Republic’s sister companies Athleta and Old Navy also produced their own takes on face masks, both sold in packages of five with options available for the whole family.

Other labels selling face coverings at affordable prices have included Kenneth Cole, Alice + Olivia, Disney, J.Crew and Walmart.

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