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To Mask Or Not To Mask: BlackRock CEO Weighs In

July 17, 2020 at 06:06PM

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has three words of advice for Americans who want to help the U.S. economy recover from the COVID-19 crisis: wear a mask.

“If we all wore a mask, if we all cared about our fellow citizens a little more, we will resolve this crisis much sooner,” Fink told CNBC’s Squawk on the Street Friday (July 17). “We are witnessing many states reopen, but reopening without wearing masks. We need a world of compassion and that compassion means wearing a mask.”

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said there’s evidence that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19, one thing seems clear, Americans are not on the same page.

A CDC survey found 65 percent of U.S. adults say that they have worn a mask in stores or other businesses all or most of the time in the past month. Another 15 percent said wore masks some of the time. A small share, 9 percent, said they rarely wear one, 7 percent said they have not worn a mask in the past month while 4 percent said they have not been out of the house.

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield in a statement. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus, particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

But anti-lockdown protesters have argued it’s anti-American to curtail people’s freedoms to reduce illness and deaths as a result of the coronavirus.

“I’m not doing it because I woke up in a free country,” a customer told a Costco employee when asked to wear a mask to enter the store, in an incident shown in a taped segment of the Howard Stern Show on SiriusXM Radio.

Best Buy, Starbucks, Kroger, Walmart and other retailers require customers wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

PYMNTS’ research drew several conclusions about consumer behavior during the pandemic, and how businesses might best respond.

The first is to prioritize health with practices such as social distancing. And businesses can eliminate friction by adopting contactless payments. Another strategy is to set appointments for customers.

Goldman Sachs survey found that a national mask law could spare the U.S. economy from suffering a 5 percent tumble in gross domestic product (GDP), the total value of goods produced and services provided in a year.

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