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The pandemic has shaken up many aspects of our day-to-day lives. From face masks to lockdowns to remote working, it sometimes feels like nothing will be as before. And while wearing a face mask currently still feels onerous and restrictive, many people could be ready to adopt them for good.

Admittedly, the absence – or near absence – of winter epidemics like flu and gastroenteritis in many countries worldwide, may contribute to the appeal of the face covering, as far as hygiene is concerned.

A new survey of over 2,000 Americans by Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center reveals almost three quarters of the persons polled (72%) said that they plan to continue to wear masks in public, and 80% will still avoid crowds.

Could impeccable hygiene be the new normal?

“While the progress we’re making toward recovery is exciting, it’s critical that we don’t ease up on the precautions that we know have worked thus far,” said Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “Masks and physical distancing are still our best weapons for limiting spread and, now that we have a vaccine, will make those precautions even more effective and will drive new cases way down if we stay the course.”

Another, not insignificant finding is that 90% of people polled plan to keep up frequent handwashing and sanitizer use after covid-19 – gestures which, if ongoing, could have an impact on several seasonal epidemics.

“Flu cases and hospitalizations are way down compared to recent years. A lot of that is likely because precautions like masking, physical distancing and hand hygiene are working to prevent the flu,” Gonsenhauser said. “I think a lot of people realize what we’ve learned from covid-19 can be applied more generally to keep our population healthy.”

The pandemic could therefore continue to impact beauty routines for longer than anticipated.

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