- The Washington Times - Friday, March 5, 2021

Mask mandates work in beating back COVID-19 while indoor dining is risky, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The mandates led to a decline in the growth rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths, while eating in restaurants was linked with an increase in cases and deaths, the CDC found. 

Researchers found that the growth rate in daily cases fell 0.5% to 1.8% 20 days after mask requirements had been implemented. The mandates also were linked with a 0.7% to 1.9% drop in the growth rates of coronavirus deaths.

Meanwhile, dining inside restaurants was linked to a 0.9% to 1.2% increase in the case growth rate and a 2% to 3% increase in the death growth rate within 41 to 80 days after reopening. 

“State mask mandates and prohibiting on-premises dining at restaurants help limit potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2, reducing community transmission of COVID-19,” the CDC researchers wrote. “Studies have confirmed the effectiveness of community mitigation measures in reducing the prevalence of COVID-19. Mask mandates are associated with reductions in COVID-19 case and hospitalization growth rates, whereas reopening on-premises dining at restaurants, a known risk factor associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, is associated with increased COVID-19 cases and deaths, particularly in the absence of mask mandates.” 

The CDC researchers studied county-level data on mask mandates and restaurant reopenings from March through December 2020 and compared them with county-level changes in COVID-19 case and death growth rates. 

Beginning in April, 39 states and the District implemented mask mandates. In March and April 2020, 49 states and the District banned dining at restaurants, but lifted these restrictions by mid-June. 

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