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CDC Says White Men Aren't Washing Their Hands

A new study claims that white men are less likely to practice hand hygiene than other groups.

Practicing hand hygiene is one of the five or six fundamentals in preventing COVID-19, according to health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci. While the majority of Americans are washing their hands more than ever, according to a new study courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are some people who are less inclined to partake in the germ-killing ritual. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

White Men Can't Jump…or Wash Hands

According to the CDC study, based on data collected from Porter Novelli Public Services, white people, men and young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 are less likely to wash their hands. 

The data involved 3,600 people pre-pandemic in October 2019 and then 4,000 in June 2020, as the virus was surging in many parts of the country. Researchers reported "statistically significant increases in reported handwashing" during the time period, finding that in general, people were about twice as likely to wash hands in certain situations, including after coughing or sneezing and before eating. 

"In June 2020, more U.S. adults reported remembering to wash their hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose, before eating in a restaurant, before eating at home, and after using the bathroom at home compared with responses in October 2019," they write in the study. "The most substantial increases were in the percentages of those remembering to wash their hands after experiencing respiratory symptoms. Despite these increases, however, fewer than 75% of respondents reported remembering to wash their hands after having respiratory symptoms, before eating in a restaurant, and before eating at home."

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They're Harming Others By Not Doing So

Most interesting about the study, is that "Men, young adults aged 18–24 years, and non-Hispanic White (White) adults were less likely to remember to wash hands in multiple situations," researchers pointed out. 

"In both 2019 (pre-pandemic) and 2020 (during the pandemic), higher percentages of older adults, women, Black persons, and Hispanic persons reported remembering to wash their hands in multiple situations than did young adults, men, and white adults," the new study said. 

"Because older adults, Black persons, and Hispanic persons have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, engagement in preventive behaviors by these persons is particularly important."

"Public health efforts should promote frequent handwashing for all, with attention to tailoring messaging to men, young adults, and non-Hispanic White adults," encourages the CDC. "Particular focus should be placed on encouraging handwashing at important times such as before eating and after experiencing respiratory symptoms." As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah
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