HealthAffairs Source Article | Comments Courtesy of Matt Zavadsky
Interesting ‘Fast Track’ study released yesterday in Health Affairs as communities consider mandating face masks.
Enforcement can be a little ‘thorny’. The Center for Public Safety Management recently published an article for ICMA on that topic.
Community Use Of Face Masks And COVID-19: Evidence From A Natural Experiment Of State Mandates In The US
Wei Lyu and George L. Wehby
JUNE 16, 2020
The study provides evidence that states in the US mandating use of face masks in public had a greater decline in daily COVID-19 growth rates after issuing these mandates compared to states that did not issue mandates. These effects are observed conditional on other existing social distancing measures and are independent of the CDC recommendation to wear facial covers issued on April 3. As countries worldwide and states begin to relax social distancing restrictions and considering the high likelihood of a second COVID-19 wave in the fall/winter,30 requiring use of face masks in public might help in reducing COVID-19 spread.
State policies mandating public or community use of face masks or covers in mitigating novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread are hotly contested. This study provides evidence from a natural experiment on effects of state government mandates in the US for face mask use in public issued by 15 states plus DC between April 8 and May 15. The research design is an event study examining changes in the daily county-level COVID-19 growth rates between March 31, 2020 and May 22, 2020. Mandating face mask use in public is associated with a decline in the daily COVID-19 growth rate by 0.9, 1.1, 1.4, 1.7, and 2.0 percentage-points in 1–5, 6–10, 11–15, 16–20, and 21+ days after signing, respectively. Estimates suggest as many as 230,000–450,000 COVID-19 cases possibly averted By May 22, 2020 by these mandates. The findings suggest that requiring face mask use in public might help in mitigating COVID-19 spread. [Editor’s Note: This Fast Track Ahead Of Print article is the accepted version of the peer-reviewed manuscript. The final edited version will appear in an upcoming issue of Health Affairs.]