Historical perspective – NOT wearing a mask during the 1918 flu pandemic was illegal
In the context of the current pandemic, an interesting historical anecdote is that of the 1918 flu pandemic. During this latter crisis, not wearing a mask was classified as illegal in some parts of the nation.
During the 1918 flu pandemic, San Francisco instituted instructions making masks in public mandatory. Disobeying these instructions could lead to fines or imprisonment. Tucson, Arizona, was another city which mandated the wearing of masks on November 14, 1918 (with a few exceptions).
Mask-wearing movements were grown and cultivated, and even a culture of shaming those not wearing masks in public was developed.
Read more about these historical anecdotes below.