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Dr. Robert Klitzman on the Politics of Wearing a Mask

A recent news story on the use of face masks cited Robert Klitzman, MD to illustrate how politics factors into Americans’ decisions about whether or not to wear them.  

Dr. Klitzman, a Columbia University Professor of Psychiatry and the Academic Director of the M.S. in Bioethics program, initially addressed the mask debate in an April 18 Washington Post article

“Trump supporters, many of whom may live in less-populated red states, may currently know fewer people with COVID, and may therefore minimize the threat," he told the Post. "They don't want to wear masks—they may feel they are being imposed and are 'un-American'... The fact that wearing masks suggests that the virus is a real threat to them—despite what Trump has said—may further tip the balance against masks."

The quote resurfaced in a July 22 story from NPR member station WAMU, in Washington, D.C., about a new map (published by The New York Times) that shows where in the U.S. people are more or less likely to wear masks. As the article notes, the decision to wear a mask “has become a divisive political subject,” pointing to a recent Pew Research study showing that Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to say that “masks should be worn always.”

Read the full article and learn more about the M.S. in Bioethics program.