States Doing This One Thing Have Seen Coronavirus Numbers Fall 25 Percent

Meanwhile, the states not doing it have seen their new COVID cases skyrocket.

When it comes to mandatory face mask policies, the verdict is in: whether you like it or not, they make a difference in the fight against coronavirus.

A recent analysis published by The Philadelphia Inquirer compared the effects of several statewide policies for mask-wearing in public, and determined that states with mask-wearing mandates had seen a 25 percent drop in new cases over the past two weeks. Conversely, states with no mandatory requirements at all had seen an 84 percent increase in new cases over that same length of time.

The study also looked at two more moderate strategies: one that requires only employees of certain businesses to wear masks, and another that requires both employees and patrons of those same types of businesses to wear masks.

As the report explains, states that "require mask-wearing by employees and patrons of certain businesses have seen an overall 12 percent drop in cases… Meanwhile, states that require masks only for employees of certain businesses have seen a 70 percent increase, on average, in new cases." In other words, the more widespread the mandated mask use, the better the outcome for everyone.

That said, these policies are not without their critics: many reject mandatory masking policies as an unfair infringement on personal choice, despite clear evidence of their efficacy, and strong endorsements from healthcare professionals.

Jade Flinn, nurse educator for the Johns Hopkins Biocontainment Unit, expressed strong support for the mask mandates. "Face masking is one of the more effective prevention measures because we contain viral particles that may be produced through simple activities like talking or breathing," she told The Philadelphia Inquirer. She went on to explain that along with social distancing and hand washing, masking is one of the most important "pillars" in our strategy to fight coronavirus.

So, the next time you leave the house, make sure you take your mask along with you. The more consistently people wear them in public, the more we flatten the curve. And make sure you're getting the most out of your mask: Here's the One Thing That Makes Your Face Mask Less Safe.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more