Some Republican lawmakers have mocked the practice of wearing masks, while local rules requiring masks have been rescinded in some locations following a backlash. ADThe U-turn regarding masks and the subsequent political divide over them has come to symbolize the chaos of the U.S. response to the still-raging pandemic. In many Asian countries, surgical masks were socially acceptable long before the coronavirus pandemic, partly as a result of experience in past pandemics, like SARS in 2003. The divide over masks in the United States cannot be blamed on the president’s vanity alone, however. ADOther factors include the United States’ decentralized political system, as well as Americans’ focus on protecting individual liberty.