Background: Guidelines and recommendations from public health authorities related to face masks have been essential for containing the COVID-19 pandemic. We assessed the behavioral differences and correlates of mask usage, mainly mask removal.
Methods: We examined public mask-wearing behavior during on-site COVID-19 nucleic acid detection. We examined 1180 responses to a cross-sectional survey by NingBo of China, completed from April 8 to April 12, 2022. The outcome was face mask usage in public settings and hand hygiene. Descriptive statistics were used to assess public mask-wearing behaviors. A binary logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the risk factors affecting mask-wearing behavior and hand hygiene.
Results: We analyzed data from 1180 participants; 73.2% demonstrated good knowledge regarding face mask use. However, only 53.7% know the correct way to remove a mask; 70.3% maintain hand hygiene after touching the outside of the mask. Health prevention knowledge (odds ratio [OR] = 6.60, 95% confidential interval [CI] = 4.79–9.08, p＜0.001; OR = 2.37, 95% CI = 1.79–3.13, p＜0.001) and free face mask distribution (OR = 0.71, 95% CI = 0.54–0.94, p = 0.017; OR = 0.49, 95% CI = 0.37–0.64, p＜0.001) predicted health prevention behavior (removal during nucleic acid sampling and hand hygiene after touching the outside of the mask).
Conclusions: Most participants used masks during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, mask removal and hand hygiene when touching the outside of the mask were neglected. More attention needs to be paid to details of mask removal and hand hygiene. Local health authorities should consider introducing free distribution of masks.