A new study has found people living in the north of England are the least likely to wear a face covering in public.
YouGov figures – collated by the Financial Times – listed a series of demographics that show who is most and least likely to wear face masks to protect against the spread of coronavirus.
Northerners lead in the stats, being almost 5 per cent less likely than the national average to wear a face mask, while the working class, people aged 25 to 49, people living in the Midlands/Wales, Conservatives, Leave-voters, men, southerners (excluding London) and people aged 50 to 64 all fall below average too.
Conversely, Londoners are the most likely – by far – to wear face masks, polling almost 15 per cent above the national average.
Also among the most likely to wear face masks are people aged over 65, Labour voters, Remainers, Scots, Liberal Democrat voters, people in the middle class, women and people aged 18 to 24.
The figures suggest less than a third of people across the UK are wearing face masks and professor Melinda Mills from the University of Oxford believes politicians are to blame:
The policy is just really mixed and that just confuses people. When there’s not a really clear policy message you get this confusion, but you also get this seed of doubt.
It’s certainly true that Boris Johnson hasn’t been completely clear recently when it comes to wearing face coverings in public.
The PM was slammed as a “hypocrite” for comments he made on Friday about considering “stricter” rules on wearing masks in public:
I do think we need to be stricter in insisting people wear face coverings in confined spaces where they are meeting people they don’t normally meet.
We are looking at ways of making sure that people really do have face coverings in shops, for instance, where there is a risk of transmission.
This is despite months of not wearing masks during certain public engagements, like when he recently went to an indoor restaurant with Rishi Sunak or when he visited a construction site in the past week.
The FT investigation also found the UK is one of the slowest countries in the world to adapt to wearing face masks:
As of 15 June, face masks on public transport have been mandatory in England, while they became mandatory in shops across Scotland on Friday.
At the time of writing, there have been over 288,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the UK, while 44,650 people have sadly died.