Finally, some relatively good news when it comes to COVID-19. Coronavirus cases in the United States are declining… with a caveat. It’s only happening in states with mask mandates and those that have kept business like bars, gyms, restaurants and theaters closed to crowds, reports the New York Times.
Following a massive spike in coronavirus cases in June and July, the numbers leveled off and are now beginning to decrease, as the latest reports show that cases are still rising in just nine states nationwide.
It’s far from over, however, as the U.S. still has one of the world’s highest rates of infection with over 5.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 176,000 deaths as of Monday morning.
The states that saw the biggest increases in June and July are now counted among those with the largest decreases thanks to implementing or re-implementing of local mask requirements and the reversal of the state’s reopening policies.
Florida, in particular, is one of the states helping to reverse the trend thanks to the reversal of statewide reopening of bars and the enforcing of mask requirements in many municipalities.
South Carolina, by comparison, which has no statewide mask mandate, saw its decrease in coronavirus cases (15.1 percent) occur at an almost 50 percent rate slower than any state that has this requirement (30.4 percent).
Among the states where coronavirus cases are still rising, four of them, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, have no statewide policy requiring masks.
The states where the number of cases has been staying the same include California, New Alaska, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
Texas, one of the worst hit states following its reopening, has also seen a stark decrease in the number of cases since rolling back the opening of bars and restaurants and requiring masks.
In Kansas, Dr. Lee Norman, the state health department’s top administrator, said earlier this month, “Do masks work? Here in this natural experiment called Kansas where we have essentially — not due to any great design, but it has worked out that way — some counties have been the control group with a no mask mandate and some have been the experimental group with masks. The experimental group is winning the battle. All improvements in case development comes from those counties wearing masks.”
“We basically have 50 laboratory experiments going on right now, and every state has a slightly different policy approach,” Dr. Joe Gerald, associate professor of public health policy at the University of Arizona, told the New York Times. “If we get complacent, this thing could get out of control again. And we’ll have even less safety margin to manage it because we’re starting from a higher place.”
So yeah, #WearAMask.