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July 2, 2020 -- A new report from Goldman Sachs indicates that a nationwide face mask mandate could lower COVID-19 infections and help economic recovery, according to USA Today.

A mask mandate could take place of renewed lockdowns that would make the economy even worse and cut GDP by 5%, according to an analysis released Monday night.

“If a face mask mandate meaningfully lowers coronavirus infections, it could be valuable not only from a public health perspective but also from an economic perspective,” Jan Hatzius, the company’s chief economist, wrote in a note to clients.

Goldman Sachs used three models to analyze how face masks were associated with infections, deaths and economic factors. A mandate could increase the percentage of people who wear masks by 15 percentage points, a team of analysts concluded, which would cut the daily growth rate of new coronavirus cases by 1 percentage point to 0.6%.

Countries such as Germany, India, Italy, Mexico and the UK issued nationwide requirements to wear masks, according to CNN Business.

“Countries which took longer to reach widespread mask usage whether by policy or cultural norms suffered more virus cases and fatalities,” Hatzius added.

Face masks usage varies widely by state. About 40% of people in Arizona say they always wear one in public, as compared with 80% in Massachusetts, according to the report.

Several states and cities have imposed a face mask mandate, and state-level mandates have increased the number of people who “always” or “frequently” wear masks by 25 percentage points in the 30 days after a mandate is signed, the analysts found.

At the same time, states without a mandate account for about half of the nationwide population, 40% of the coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 45% of GDP, according to the report.

A national mandate could increase face mask usage “by statistically significant and economically large amounts,” particularly in states such as Florida and Texas that don’t have a mandate and have seen a surge in new cases, according to the report.

“So will the U.S. adopt a national face mask mandate? This is uncertain, partly because masks have become such a politically and culturally charged issue,” Hatzius wrote.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

USA Today, “A national mask mandate could lower virus infections and help recovery, Goldman Sachs says.”

CNN Business, “Trump says masks are a ‘double-edged sword.’ Goldman Sachs says they could help save the economy.”

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