For many black men, fear of wearing a mask outweighs COVID-19 risks

Many black men are opting not to wear face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic for fear of facing increased harassment or violence from police, reports STAT.

Black people are more likely to be stopped and frisked, pulled over or killed by police, according to STAT. It appears they are also more likely to be targeted by police while wearing masks, the publication reported.

Many black men say wearing a mask poses a bigger threat to them than COVID-19, even though the virus disproportionately affects black communities.

"Which death do they choose? COVID-19 or police shooting?" Vickie Mays, PhD, and professor of health policy and management at the University of California Los Angeles' Fielding School of Public Health, told STAT

Dr. Mays has been tracking instances nationwide in which black men have been harassed while wearing masks.

"We have African Americans who have been dragged out of stores, who have been ordered by police and store guards to pull their masks down or take their masks off," she said, adding that this is just one of several social injustices and care disparities affecting black people during the pandemic that must be addressed. 

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More articles on public health:
Viewpoint: Police brutality begets a public health nightmare
COVID-19 activity by region: Where cases are rising, falling
Racial disparities & COVID-19: Why it matters in healthcare

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