Voluntary and mandatory use of face mask by pedestrians in Guatemala City during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dennis Guerra-Centeno, Luisa Burmester-Ruiz, Paula Guerra-Burmester, Dennis Guerra-Burmester, Federico Villatoro-Paz


The COVID-19 pandemic has currently affected more than 200 countries and caused around four million cases. Face masks are recommended for preventing the contagion. The Guatemalan government issued a decree  for the mandatory use of face masks in public places. In order to find out the frequency of voluntary and mandatory use of face masks by Guatemalans we conducted a case study divided in two episodes (pre and post mandatory use decree) by driving a 27.8 km car transect through 11 of the 22 zones of Guatemala City and observing the use of face mask by pedestrians walking on the sides of the transect. Pedestrians were visually classified by age category (children [< 12 years], juveniles [12-21 years], adults [21-65 years] and elders [> 65 years]) and gender. During the pre-decree observation, we registered 476 individuals using a face mask and 674 not using or using them improperly. During the post-decree observation, we registered 797 individuals using face mask and 211 not using or using them improperly. In general, the frequency of face mask use was higher in the post-decree sample. Males used masks less frequent than females, especially the elders and before the decree became mandatory. Although the mandatory use decree managed to increase the frequency of the use of the mask, there is a portion of the population that is not using it or that is using it improperly, so this should be considered by the health authorities who are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Texto completo:

PDF (English)


Agresti, A. (2007). An introduction to categorical data analysis (2nd ed.). New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

Agresti, A., & Coull, B. A. (1998). Approximate is better than “exact” for interval estimation of binomial proportions. The American Statistician, 52(2), 119-126. https://doi.org/10.1080/00031305.1998.10480550

Cheng, V. C. C., Lau, S. K. P., Woo, P. C. Y., & Yuen, K. Y. (2007). Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus as an agent of emerging and reemerging infection. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 20(4), 660-694. https://doi.org/10.1128/CMR.00023-07

Feng, S., Shen, C., Xia, N., Song, W., Fan, M., & Cowling, B. J. (2020, March 20). Rational use of face masks in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 8(5), 434-436. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30134-X

Harris, C. R., Jenkins, M., & Glaser, D. (2006). Gender differences in risk assessment: Why do women take fewer risks than men? Judgment and Decision Making, 1(1), 48-63.

Lai, C. C., Shih, T. P., Ko, W. C., Tang, H. J., & Hsueh, P. R. (2020). Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and corona virus disease-2019 (COVID-19): The epidemic and the challenges. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 55, 105924. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105924

Lyu, P. (2015). Proposal on solutions to stray dog problem in American cities. Journal of Political Science and Public Affairs, 3(3), 1-3. https://doi.org/10.4172/2332-0761.1000175

MacIntyre, C. R., Cauchemez, S., Dwyer, D. E., Seale, H., Cheung, P., Browne, G., ... Ferguson, N. (2009). Face mask use and control of respiratory virus transmission in households. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 15(2), 233. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid1502.081167

Presidencia de la República de Guatemala. (2020a). Disposiciones presidenciales en caso de calamidad pública y órdenes para el estricto cumplimiento. Guatemala, 12 de abril de 2020. Diario de Centro América, No. 48, T. 314 . Retrieved from http://construguate.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Disposiciones-presidenciales-12-de-abril-2020.pdf

Presidencia de la República de Guatemala. (2020b). Decreto gubernativo número 6-2020. Guatemala, 21 de marzo de 2020. Diario de Centro América, No. 34-B T. 314. Retrieved from https://export.com.gt/covid-19/sites/default/files/pdf/2020-05/DECRETO%20GUBERNATIVO%206-2020.pdf

R. Core Team (2019). R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria (version 3.6.3). https://www.R-project.org/.

Worldmeter. (2020). COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic. Retrieved May 6, 2020, from https://www.worldmeters.info/

World Health Organization. (2020a). WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard. Retrieved from https://covid19.who.int/?gclid=CjwKCAjwwab7BRBAEiwAapqpTLh2doxH9ClS9_MC20uD1oPP_1rjzSm3GU8yjQrrgbM9CbO87K6BxRoCt7UQAvD_BwE

World Health Organization. (2020b). Rational use of personal protective equipment

for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Interim guidance 27 February

Retrieved from


World Organisation for Animal Healt. (2020). Questions and answers on COVID-19. Retrieved May 6, from https://www.oie.int/en/scientific-expertise/specific-information-and-recommendations/questions-and-answers-on-2019novel-coronavirus/

Zhang, W., Du, R. H., Li, B., Zheng, X. S., Yang, X. L., Hu, B., ... Zhou, P. (2020).

Molecular and serological investigation of 2019-nCoV infected patients: Implication of multiple shedding routes. Emerging Microbes & Infections, 9(1), 386-389. https://doi.org/10.1080/22221751.2020.1729071

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.36829/63CTS.v7i3.894

Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.

Añadir comentario

Licencia Creative Commons
Este trabajo está licenciado bajo una Licencia Internacional Creative Commons 4.0 Atribución-NoComercial-CompartirIgual .

Dirección General de Investigación
Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala
Ciudad Universitaria, edificio S-11 3er nivel, zona 12
Teléfono: (502) 24187950

Creative Commons License
Ciencia Tecnología y Salud by Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://digi.usac.edu.gt/ojsrevistas/index.php/cytes/index.