While they may be unpopular in some places, mask mandates work to slow the spread of Covid-19, according to new research published Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since Covid-19 spreads predominantly through respiratory droplets, wearing a mask can protect others from the person wearing the mask who may have Covid-19. This month, the CDC released guidance that said masks can protect the wearer, too, by filtering incoming infectious droplets.
On July 2, as Covid-19 cases were surging in the state, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed an executive order that made masks mandatory in public spaces. The majority of the state's counties, 81, opted out of this executive order, but 24 opted in or created their own mask mandate. The counties that did require masks account for two-thirds of Kansas' population.
The CDC and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment looked at the Covid-19 case trends between June 1 and July 2, before the mandate, and then July 3 to August 23, after the mandate, to compare what happened.
In the 24 counties that required people to wear masks in public, there was a net decrease of 6% in cases; whereas the disease continued to surge in the counties without the mandate. In those counties, the net increase in cases was 100%.