For months, a group of governors across the country insisted they would not impose a mask mandate because it was overbroad of government or simply wouldn’t work. Some have since caved in to the ever-growing number of cases, but others like Wyoming’s Mark Gordon and South Dakota’s Kristi Noem have held on.
A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control on Friday adds to the evidence that mask warrants are in fact slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Researchers looked at Kansas as it was in the throes of a surge this summer. Governor Laura Kelly implemented a statewide mask requirement, but counties were allowed to opt out.
Some did and some didn’t, which gave epidemiologists a chance to make side-by-side comparisons. And what they found was clear: Counties that met Kelly’s tenure saw their cases drop 6%, while those that avoided a warrant saw their cases increase by 100%.
Some of the counties with warrants had other anti-COVID measures in place, such as limits on the size of social gatherings or occupancy of restaurants. But the data showed that counties that had a mask mandate but had no other restrictions were still seeing cases plummet – meaning the order of masks was making a difference.
The study authors note that the findings are a compelling addition to a body of previous research that supported the idea that a mask warrant was effective.
“The results of this report are consistent with the declines in COVID-19 cases seen in 15 states and the District of Columbia, which made masks mandatory, compared to states that did not have a mask warrant,” they wrote.
Some governors in the latter category have warmed to the idea that it is enough to expect people to wear masks out of order, especially as their states have set record after record in new cases.
Last week, the governor of Wyoming – who had been fiercely opposed to a statewide requirement – suggested there may be one.
“We have relied on people to be responsible and they are irresponsible. If I can’t count on you, we’re going to have to do something else, ”Gordon said.
Yet a week later, despite a request from a health worker from 21 counties, he still has not done so.
Instead, Gordon on Thursday unveiled a list of less dramatic restrictions that include, according to the Casper Star-Tribune, capping outdoor gatherings to 25 people and limiting socially distant indoor gatherings to 100 people. Churches, which have been behind a number of mass-market events across the country, have been exempted, the newspaper reported.
“These measures are intended to help our healthcare system meet unprecedented demands for services, ensure that classroom education can continue, and most importantly, keep the people of Wyoming at work and its businesses open,” he said. Gordon said.
On the same day, Wyoming reported 21 deaths from COVID-19, the highest number in a single day.
Not all governors have been as stubborn as Gordon. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum just passed a statewide mask rule, and Kim Reynolds of Iowa announced a weaker version of it. But South Dakota’s Noem, Oklahoma’s Kevin Stitt, and Nebraska’s Peter Ricketts have seen cases go up and down without one.
“Some have said that my refusal to mandate the masks is a reason our cases are increasing here in South Dakota, and that is not true,” said Noem, who is almost always seen without a mask, this week.
#study #shows #mask #controls #work #matter #governors