• Facemasks: Perceptions and use in an ED population during COVID-19.

      Eswaran, Vidya; Chang, Anna Marie; Wilkerson, R Gentry; O'Laughlin, Kelli N; Chinnock, Brian; Eucker, Stephanie A; Baumann, Brigitte M; Anaya, Nancy; Miller, Daniel G; Haggins, Adrianne N; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2022-04-13)
      STUDY OBJECTIVE: Facemask use is associated with reduced transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Most surveys assessing perceptions and practices of mask use miss the most vulnerable racial, ethnic, and socio-economic populations. These same populations have suffered disproportionate impacts from the pandemic. The purpose of this study was to assess beliefs, access, and practices of mask wearing across 15 urban emergency department (ED) populations. METHODS: This was a secondary analysis of a cross-sectional study of ED patients from December 2020 to March 2021 at 15 geographically diverse, safety net EDs across the US. The primary outcome was frequency of mask use outside the home and around others. Other outcome measures included having enough masks and difficulty obtaining them. RESULTS: Of 2,575 patients approached, 2,301 (89%) agreed to participate; nine had missing data pertaining to the primary outcome, leaving 2,292 included in the final analysis. A total of 79% of respondents reported wearing masks "all of the time" and 96% reported wearing masks over half the time. Subjects with PCPs were more likely to report wearing masks over half the time compared to those without PCPs (97% vs 92%). Individuals experiencing homelessness were less likely to wear a mask over half the time compared to those who were housed (81% vs 96%). CONCLUSIONS: Study participants reported high rates of facemask use. Respondents who did not have PCPs and those who were homeless were less likely to report wearing a mask over half the time and more likely to report barriers in obtaining masks. The ED may serve a critical role in education regarding, and provision of, masks for vulnerable populations.