By Robert Danisch
As a second wave of COVID-19 sweeps across Canada and the high tide of a first wave continues to inundate the U.S., a seemingly exasperated Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Anthony Fauci continue to remind North Americans to wear masks. Which begs the question, given all the evidence, and the mounting numbers of dead and hospitalized, why are some people still not wearing masks?
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The answer is that this is a problem of communication and persuasion, something that Tam and Fauci, despite their medical knowledge and skill, are ill-equipped to solve. Here’s the difficulty: Masks work to prevent the spread of the virus and we have the data to prove it. Tam and Fauci believe that if they just give the public this information, then their jobs are done. But information doesn’t motivate action, and the transmission of information doesn’t accurately describe how communication or persuasion work.