Refusal to wear face masks triggers crackdowns

ABC News’ Dr. Jennifer Ashton busts common myths about face masks as airlines and states issue mandatory mask requirements
5:42 | 06/26/20

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Transcript for Refusal to wear face masks triggers crackdowns
We begin with parts of the country that are now instituting new mandatory mask regulations. Washington state and north carona among the latest, according to our new ABC news poll with ipsos nine out of ten Americans say they have worn a mask in public in the last week but there is some partisan divide, 99% of Democrats compared to 79% of Republicans say they've worn a face covering. Matt Gutman is in Los Angeles with more on the mask division across the country. Good morning, Matt. Reporter: Hey, good morning, Michael. Somehow wearing a mask has become a political flash point and doctors at hospitals like these remind us these are designed to protect other people from our germs and an increasing number of governors are making wearing these mandatory as an increasing number of their constituents are rebelling against it. Are you going to allow the government to tell you, you have to wear a mask? Wearing a mask can cause to you get sick -- Wearing a mask can actually cause to you get sick. Yes, absolutely. Reporter: That claim may be false but the growing refusal to cover one's face is triggering a crackdown. On airplanes -- I don't like wearing a mask. Reporter: American airlines and delta confirming they've banned passengers from roar fusing to wear masks on board. After scenes like these when las Vegas re-opened Nevada's governor making them mandatory across the entire state and he's not the only governor. Wearing a face covering in public now mandatory in 18 states. It's a requirement making some people very unhappy. You literally cannot mandate somebody to wear a mask. Reporter: In palm beach county, Florida, where a mask rule just went into effect residents up in arms. The fact of the matter is, it's our bodies. It's our choice whether we're going to wear them, not wear them. You guys are overstepping your boundaries 100%. Reporter: And in Arizona where they hit a record number of covid hospitalizations this week, a councilman in Scottsdale under fire after appearing to mock the dying words of George Floyd and Eric Garner as he protested waring a mask. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. Reporter: He later apologized. And at this trump rally also in Scottsdale on Tuesday the president's supporters telling me masks aren't necessary. I don't wear a mask even though I have my immune system is a little compromised because I'm a breast cancer survivor. Reporter: This shows how much saliva we spray at each other in everyday conversation. Stay healthy. Reporter: Put a mask on and the results are dramatically different. Stay healthy. Wearing a mask is essentially helping others from getting infected. But if you wear masks to protect others, if others wear masks, they protect you. Reporter: Masks have been estimated to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission from 17% to 3%. And a new model from the university of Washington estimates around 33,000 lives could be saved by October 1st if nearly everyone begins to wear a mask. And just to give you another sense of how effective wearing a mask can be, we've been covering covid for months. Dozens of medical professionals across the country I've spoken to and so many feel safer inside their covid wars where so many are wearing masks than out in the public where so many fewer people wear masks. Michael. All right. Thank you so much, Matt. Now we bring in Dr. Jennifer Ashton who is joining us from -- I don't know where you are, home or wherever you are, doc. You'll help bust a couple of mask myths out there but first are there any medical conditions that would prevent someone from wearing a mask? There aren't a lot, Michael. There are certainly some people, maybe for PTSD reasons or severe claustrophobia psychologically may not be able to wear one but in general if someone is well enough to be out in public, they're medically well enough to put some kind of face covering or mask on. Now we'll talk about the myths that are out there. We heard the woman say they make you sick. An image shared online that shows they lower your oxygen level and a video posted has more than a million views that claims that breathing -- it makes you breathe in too much carbon dioxide. What's the reality? Far from that, Michael. I mean this, is basic physics. Basic science, first of all, masks are not airtight. You are not hermetically sealed by putting a face covering on. Molecule size of oxygen and carbon dioxide are so small they can easily go through that covering and just think about this rationally, if that were true, any surgeon, any nurse, any lab tech anything, anyone who works in a job that requires them to wear a mask would be passing out. So let's try to keep it to fact, not fiction here because people's lives are really at If you think about it it's pretty common sense. Last myth, many people believe wearing a mask eliminates the need for social distancing, but this is incorrect and, please tell us why. I actually texted Dr. Anthony Fauci this question a few weeks ago to be crystal clear, it's not either a mask or six feet apart. It's both and, remember, that's for everyone else's protection and it may be for your protection as well. You see so many wearing masks but they come together thinking that's going to help. All right, doc, thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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