Keiji Fukuda, director and clinical professor at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health, said people in the city see wearing a mask “as a way that the individual is trying to protect both the larger society as well as the self”.
“But where I grew up, in the US, wearing masks is seen by some, if not many, as a personal infringement -– an unwanted imposed obligation,” he told AFP.
The use of masks in parts of Asia with relatively low numbers of infections and deaths from the virus, including Japan and Hong Kong, has led some to theorize mask-wearing is making the difference.
But experts are skeptical.
Ben Cowling, a professor at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health, instead credits a range of public health measures implemented in these countries.
These include “identifying cases and isolating them, tracing and quarantining their contacts, and also implementing social distancing in the community,” he told AFP.