As Election Day nears, the role of masks during the coronavirus pandemic has become highly politicized; while health experts have emphasized how masks can reduce spread, mask rules across the country have varied and so has the response from Americans.
More than a century ago, during the 1918 flu pandemic, there were some similar feelings about masks.
As Americans were celebrating victory in World War I in the fall of 1918, the masks on returning troops showed that the U.S. was losing another war against the so-called Spanish Flu.
Masks were controversial back then "for many of the same reasons they are today," said Nancy Tomes, a history professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Read more >>