Opinion | Do masks protect people from coronavirus? Not if you wear them like this.

Right now, scientists are racing to develop a vaccine to halt the spread of COVID-19, medical teams are working around the clock to save people’s lives, and businesses are installing things like thermal scanners at entrances and plexiglass at restaurants to protect customers and employees. But even as some Americans move heaven and earth to keep us safe, many others have let their guard — and their masks — down.

As a country, we’ve never been known for our ability to follow simple directions, but you’d like to think we could do better than the mess of failed attempts and halfhearted efforts marching down the streets of America. Meanwhile, these acts of mass mask malfeasance are coming at the worst possible time. States are experiencing record numbers of new coronavirus cases — even as they continue reopening — and the latest projections have nearly 180,000 Americans dying by Oct. 1. But there is still time to do something. Scientists estimate that if 95 percent of Americans start wearing masks right now, it would save roughly 25,000 lives over the next three months.

Of course, that’s assuming those things are worn correctly. Doctors tell us that to effectively block the respiratory droplets that spread COVID-19, masks must securely cover faces on all sides, stretching from the bottoms of our chins to the tops of our noses. And to everyone following directions, thank you. But it seems like a lot of Americans are in need of a refresher course. Here are eight examples you might have seen recently that definitely aren’t getting the job done.