Have you noticed that most of the people you see not wearing masks and brushing closely past you are men? A fascinating study out of Yale University and New York University confirms this, finding that you can thank women for COVID safety.
Researchers headed to the streets in New York City; New Haven, Connecticut; and New Brunswick, New Jersey, and tracked the behaviors of unsuspecting passersby. They also analyzed the movements of 15 million cellphone GPS data points, and surveyed 800 people about their practices. They found that women are far superior at wearing masks, social distancing, and handwashing, and are more likely to stay home and limit contact with family and friends. Women also are more likely to rely on advice from medical experts.
Nationwide phone data from March through May showed that males more often visit nonessential retailers such as restaurants, spas, and gyms, and social distance less. Notably, women were substantially more likely to attribute their behaviors to pandemic anxiety and a responsibility to themselves and others.
These results are not eyebrow raising to public health experts. “Previous research before the pandemic shows that women had been visiting doctors more frequently and following their recommendations more so than men. They also pay more attention to the health-related needs of others,” said lead author Irmak Olcaysoy Okten, a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at NYU, in a statement. The researchers suggest that public health recommendations start targeting men, and men, you know, follow them.