Only 6% Of S’poreans Wear Masks Even Though We Queue Up & Buy Them Like Crazy

Ever since the coronavirus came knocking on our doors in January, one of the items that everyone has been hoarding would be face masks.

Although a face mask is essentially just a thin piece of fabric and it certainly does not give you an ironclad guarantee that you won’t get infected, people still rushed to stock up on them like their lives depended on it.

There was even a time when face masks were being sold on Carousell for crazy high prices after all the stores ran out of them.

Image: Carousell

And unfortunately, many did end up falling prey to these face mask scams.

However, what’s surprising is the fact that although so many Singaporeans were desperate to buy face masks, only 6% of them actually ended up wearing them.

So where did the rest of the masks go?

Study Reveals That Only 6% Of Singaporeans Wear Face Masks

A study conducted by two Nanyang Technological University (NTU) associate professors, Edson Tandoc Jr. and Kim Hye Kyung, has revealed that only 6% of Singaporeans wear face masks out on a daily basis.

They surveyed about 1,000 Singapore residents, consisting entirely of citizens and permanent residents.

58% of respondents said that they had not worn a face mask at all during the week of 26 Feb to 11 Mar 2020, which is when they conducted the survey.

82.6% of them said that they were either somewhat likely or extremely likely to wear a face mask if they were feeling sick.

Why Are People Not Wearing Masks?

However, this study brings up a rather confusing question.

Face masks are one of the first items to completely fly off the shelves the moment they are restocked. So if only 6% of people in Singapore wear masks, why do so many people hoard them?

A queue for face masks in Singapore back in January / Image: Twitter (@benjoeee)

Well, it turns out that many people have actually listened to the government’s advice on not wearing face masks unless they are actually sick.

I guess they could just be keeping their stash of face masks safely hidden away at home, and start wearing them only when it is necessary.

Image: Giphy

The researchers who conducted the study also theorised that Singaporeans were probably not wearing masks due to the difficulty in procuring them.

63% of respondents said that they had tried to buy masks but found out that they were already sold out, and 64% said that face masks had become too expensive.

Singaporeans Have High Trust In The Government.

Although the Covid-19 situation just seems to be getting worse in Singapore as the days go by, many Singaporeans have expressed the trust that they have in the government’s handling of it.

84% said that the government had done a competent job in protecting residents from the spread of the virus.

Recently, the government also announced that they might deploy a third stimulus package to help Singaporeans if it is needed.

As we continue to battle the coronavirus, let’s all remember not to hoard essential supplies as we are taking it away from those who need it more than we do.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that there is a shortage of protective equipment like face masks worldwide, which puts the lives of doctors and health workers at risk.

So if anyone should be hoarding these items, it should be them. 


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