Mask Mandates: Do They Work? Are There Better Ways to Control COVID-19 Outbreaks?   [open pdf - 316KB]

From the Document: "A surge in COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] cases in the United States and Europe has prompted calls for a national mask mandate here in America. Advocates of government edicts have asserted that these would bring the pandemic 'under control' in a matter of weeks. [...] This 'Backgrounder' examines the effects of mask mandates in the U.S. and Italy. While there is no national mask mandate in the U.S., many states and counties have imposed them. We (the authors) find that, of the 25 counties reporting the highest numbers of new cases during this latest surge, 21 had mask mandates in place since at least July. Italy does have a national mask mandate that is backed by fines of up to 1,000 euros for non-compliance. We find that the mandate did not prevent a surge in cases in Italy that began in October, peaked in mid-November, and had not yet subsided in mid-December. These findings do not deny the efficacy of mask-wearing per se. Nor should they discourage the practice. Instead, they point to the inadequacy of public health strategies that rely predominantly on lockdowns and mask mandates. Governments should undertake more effective interventions. These include adopting better measures to protect nursing home residents, enabling nationwide screening through the widespread use of rapid self-tests, and establishing voluntary isolation centers where infected people can recover, rather than exposing their families to infection."

Report Number:
Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 3578
Heritage Foundation. Posted here with permission. Documents are for personal use only and not for commercial profit.
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Heritage Foundation: http://www.heritage.org/
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