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Open AccessArticle

Incorrect Use of Face Masks during the Current COVID-19 Pandemic among the General Public in Japan

Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo 160-8402, Japan
Department of Infection Prevention and Control, Tokyo Medical University Hospital, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
Division of International Health (Public Health), Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Niigata University, Niigata 951-8510, Japan
Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Tohoku University, Miyagi 980-0845, Japan
Department of International Medical Communications, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6484;
Received: 18 July 2020 / Revised: 30 August 2020 / Accepted: 2 September 2020 / Published: 6 September 2020
Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of face masks by healthy individuals for prevention has been attracting public attention. However, efficacy depends on proper usage. We set out to determine the prevalence of wearing masks to prevent COVID-19 and compliance with appropriate measures for the correct use of face masks among the general public in Japan where wearing medical masks is a “cultural” normality. This cross-sectional study was based on an internet-based survey completed by 2141 people (50.8% men, aged 20–79 years) who were selected among registrants of an Internet research company between 1 April and 6 April 2020. Participants were asked to indicate how often they wore masks for prevention and to what extent they practiced appropriate measures suggested by the World Health Organization. The prevalence of wearing masks was 80.9% and compliance rates with appropriate measures ranged from 38.3% to 83.5%. Only 23.1% complied with all recommendations. Compliance rates were overall low in men and persons with low household incomes. Our results, hence show that many citizens implement inaccurate measures when using face masks. Therefore, providing guidance on correct usage is essential when encouraging the use of face masks to prevent COVID-19. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; pandemic; face mask; protective measures; epidemiology; public health COVID-19; pandemic; face mask; protective measures; epidemiology; public health
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Machida, M.; Nakamura, I.; Saito, R.; Nakaya, T.; Hanibuchi, T.; Takamiya, T.; Odagiri, Y.; Fukushima, N.; Kikuchi, H.; Amagasa, S.; Kojima, T.; Watanabe, H.; Inoue, S. Incorrect Use of Face Masks during the Current COVID-19 Pandemic among the General Public in Japan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6484.

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