Coronavirus: Who is (and isn't) wearing a face mask in Germany?
Newly released data shows that the large majority of Germans have got into the habit of wearing face masks, making them some of the most consistent mouth and nose coverers in Europe.
By July 20th only around eight percent of Germans never wore a mask when outside their home, data gathered by the survey firm Dynata suggests.
A thousand Germans have been questioned every week since the end of April for the survey.
The data shows that older Germans have been less willing to adopt masks than younger people, despite the virus posing a considerably higher risk to their health.
On April 27th, the first week the data was gathered, 16.8 percent of Germans over the age of 65 said they never wore a mask, compared to 12.2 percent of 16-24 year-olds.
By late July, 9.1 percent of over 65s were still not wearing masks as opposed to just 3.3 percent of those under 25.
The average of eight percent of German not wearing mask puts Germany behind Italy and Spain, where masks are almost universal.
But in the Netherlands and Sweden, mask wearing is still much less common, with 53 percent and 73 percent, respectively, saying they never cover their faces.
Males are also generally less willing to cover up than females, although the margin of difference has narrowed since April.
On April 27th, 17.2 percent of men and 11.6 percent of women said that they didn’t wear masks. By July 20th, that had dropped to 9.2 percent of men and 6.8 percent of women.
The data shows that mask-wearing was first adopted in Bavaria, where it remains more habitual than in most other parts of the country.
In central Germany, where the outbreak has been much less severe, less people say they wear masks, although still almost one in ten wear one at some point.
"In my opinion the risk factor of the person refusing to wear a mask is less relevant than the importance of everyone wearing a mask," Amr Aswad, a virologist at Berlin's Free University, told The Local
"Although there hasn’t been much research on this - the current consensus is that wearing a mask is advisable because it will help reduce spreading the virus via water droplets."