不戴口罩已成为一种政治行为，尽管口罩会减缓 COVID-19 冠状病毒的传播。
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The United States has lagged behind much of the world in its efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Not wearing a mask has become a political act even though masks slow the spread of the virus. As someone who just finished a dissertation on political bias, I was not surprised.
In summary, once misinformation becomes political, it is very hard to correct because of our motivation to protect our identity and the reinforcement from our political echo chambers.
To slow the spread of the coronavirus, Republican and Democratic politicians could take COVID-19 equally seriously and listen to the experts. Reducing the political nature of the pandemic will increase people’s receptiveness to information from scientists.
On an individual level, people can also make an effort to reach out to those who are against mask wearing and don’t take the virus seriously. As my research shows, depolarization can occur when there is exposure to opposing viewpoints in one’s personal network. Furthermore, I found in my dissertation that Republicans were more likely to agree that climate change is influenced by human activity when they had more positive feelings toward Democrats. This is consistent with other work that shows how connecting with people we disagree with on an emotional level is key for depolarization and persuasion. Relating this to the pandemic, we can say that when members of our community engage in mask wearing, it becomes more solidified as a social norm among our group, which ultimately leads to more people adopting the behavior.
Finally, increasing mask wearing is just one hurdle. There may be a vaccine for COVID-19 in the months ahead, but the majority of people will have to take it for herd immunity to be achieved. Unfortunately, some polls suggest that about 50% of people may not take the vaccine once it becomes available. Hopefully, the pandemic is less politically charged by then and we can defeat this virus together.