This Map Shows Which States Have the Highest and Lowest Number of Regular Mask Wearers

Like most people, you’ve probably found yourself in a state of “mask panic” since the pandemic began. You know, that frantic feeling when you check to ensure you’ve packed your mask to bring along with your sanitizer, as you once did with your wallet and phone. Strange times, indeed.

Let’s put the emphasis on the word “most” in that sentence, however, as the latest research has shown some people are still refusing to wear masks in public — despite studies proving they significantly help in preventing the spread of COVID-19

If you’re curious about the numbers in your area, you’re in luck. A new digital map, called COVIDcast, has been developed by the Delphi Group to track mask wearers by region. The map’s creators say its data is based on extensive surveys of public behavior. Interactive tools and features allow users to explore how their state is faring each day, as well as how their numbers compare with other states across the country.

According to current statistics, Wyoming is the state with the fewest people wearing masks, at just 65.6 percent of the population. Following Wyoming are North and South Dakota, at 74.31 percent and 73.67 percent, respectively. Perhaps unsurprisingly, North Dakota and South Dakota are also the top two states with the most recently reported COVID cases per 100,000 people. The Dakotas also have the most newly reported COVID deaths in the past week.

On the other end of the spectrum, many states are diligently doing their part to stop the spread. Massachusetts has the highest rate of mask wearers, with 94.87 percent of people reporting they comply with CDC guidelines when in public. Other states reporting high rates of compliance are Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Vermont — all of which fall in the mid-90 percent range. 

Public health experts have not been subtle with their pleas encouraging people to mask up in public. Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the CDC, emphasized months ago that the population is not defenseless against COVID-19 — and that masks are one of the best tools to fight the spread of the virus. 

“Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting,” he said. “All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

So, while we can agree wearing (and remembering) a mask comes with its share of woes, the benefits outweigh the inconveniences in this situation. After all, that pesky piece of fabric could just save a life.

If you’re curious about how your state stacks up, check out COVIDcast for real-time updates on infection rates, mask wearing, and other public behavior related to the pandemic.