While various states are easing restrictions devised to help curb the spread of COVID-19, Texas has taken the most dramatic step by dropping its mask mandate altogether. This coincides with new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in MMWR, indicating that requiring people to wear masks in public places like retail establishments and restaurants helped reduce both the incidence of infection and deaths attributed to the virus. Between March 1 and December 31, 2020, requiring people to wear a mask when not at home was tied to a 0.5% decrease in the daily growth rate cases up to 20 days after implementation of mask mandates and a drop of 1.8% up to 100 days after. The effect on death rates was almost identical. Up to 20 days postimplementation the daily rate of COVID-19 deaths was down 0.7%, while after up to 100 days later it was down 1.9%. Use these data when reminding patients that losing a mask mandate does not negate the value of choosing to wear a mask.
Mandates or Not, New Data Continue to Support the Protective Value of Wearing a Mask