A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that mask mandates were linked to a decrease in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
The findings come as some states, including Texas and Mississippi, have recently made moves to lift their mask mandates and other restrictions. The CDC report, published Friday, examined the association of state mask mandates and orders allowing restaurants to reopen with COVID-19 cases and deaths. State-issued mask mandates applied in 2,313 (73.6%) of the 3,142 U.S. counties. Researchers found that, from March 1 to Dec. 31, mask mandates were associated with a 0.5 percentage point decrease in daily case growth rates and a 0.7 percentage point decrease in death growth rates within 20 days of implementation, and also a decrease of 1.8 percentage points within respectively 100 days of implementation.
Meanwhile, allowing restaurants to offer indoor or outdoor dining was associated with an increase in daily case growth rates 40-100 days later of up to 1.1 percentage point, and an increase in daily death growth rates 61 to 100 days later of up to 3 percentage points. “Mask mandates and restricting any on-premises dining at restaurants can help limit community transmission of COVID-19 and reduce case and death growth rates,” researchers wrote. “These findings can inform public policies to reduce community spread of COVID-19.” The study did not make a distinction between indoor or outdoor dining. The CDC encourages people to continue wearing masks in public and maintain proper social distancing, especially due to the presence in the U.S. of the COVID-19 variant that first emerged in the U.K., known as B.1.1.7 [ABC].
On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that the state’s mask order will end and businesses can reopen at full capacity as of March 10. Following Texas’s lead, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said the state’s county mask mandates will end and businesses can operate at full capacity starting Wednesday. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced Thursday that effective April 9, masks will be “a matter of personal responsibility and not a government mandate.” On Friday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also announced that restaurants, bars and other businesses could immediately operate at 100% capacity, while physical distancing and mask protocols will remain in place.
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: FOX 5 DC