India In-Focus podcast: The Role of Masking

In the inaugural episode of The COVID Chronicles, Dr Satchit Balsari is in conversation with Mushfiq Mobarak, Professor of Economics at Yale University and Co-Chair of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab’s Urban Services initiative. Mobarak has collaborated with the government of Bangladesh, research institutes, major telecom providers and other stakeholders to devise evidence-based COVID-19 response strategies for Bangladesh and other developing countries. Tackling the question of whether masking works and how to get people to wear masks, Mobarak calls mask adoption a more complex problem – both a medical science and a social science issue – than it seems at first glance. The discussion focuses on the challenge of getting people to wear masks consistently, how to change mask-wearing norms, and establish consistent norms in a community. Mobarak points out that the focus must now shift beyond whether we need universal mask adoption to how policy-makers can achieve it – and what the actual expected benefits are. (LISTEN)