Many countries have recommended the use of face masks for general population in public places to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
This study aims to estimate the prevalence of face mask usage and investigate about different types of face mask and their distribution among pedestrians in southwest Iran during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This cross-sectional study was conducted in August 2020 in Ahvaz, southwest Iran. Using a multistage sampling method, a total of 10,440 pedestrians selected from 8 urban districts and 92 neighborhoods of the city. The data gathered by observation method. Percentage, mean and standard deviation were used to describe the variables. Chi-square test, fisher exact test and Chi-square for trend used to assess relationship between two categorical variables. We used unconditional logistic regression model to control confounders.
The most common age group was 10 to 39 years and 67.9% of the participants were male. The overall prevalence of face mask usage was 45.6% (95% CI, 44.6–46.5). In general, as the age increased, the prevalence of face mask use significantly increased (p for trend < 0.001). Women used face masks significantly higher than men (60.2% vs. 38.7%, p < 0.001). Among the pedestrians who used the mask, 75.6% wore facemask correctly. The most common type of facemask used by the pedestrians were surgical (medical) masks (63.8%). In total, the prevalence of facemask usage was significantly higher during a.m. (49.4%) compared to p.m. (43.9%), (p < 0.001). Besides, in our study, 1.7 and 0.3% of Pedestrians had worn gloves and shielded respectively. Women used shields and gloves significantly higher than men (3.6% vs. 0.7%, p < 0.001). Also, women used shields more than men (0.5% vs. 0.3%, p = 0.036).
We concluded that the prevalence rate of face mask use in Ahvaz was fairly low especially in men and younger people. Hence, the observed rates probably cannot protect the community against COVID-19 spread. Therefore, it is important to implement educational programs as well as to establish laws and regulations governing the use of face masks in public places.