THURSDAY April 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) – States that required people to mask themselves last year had lower COVID-19 rates than those that did not require a mask, according to a new study.
Researchers looked at data from all 50 states and Washington, DC, to assess mask policies, self-reported mask use in public, and COVID rates from May to October 2020.
They took into account a one-month delay between wearing the mask and its subsequent potential effect on COVID infection rates.
“States with the lowest levels of mask membership were the most likely to have high rates of COVID-19 the following month, regardless of mask policy or demographic factors,” the team wrote recently. from Boston University on the pre-print server. medRxiv, before their findings were peer reviewed.
Charlie Fischer of the School of Public Health at Boston University led the study. The final examined results were published on April 14 in the journal PLOS ONE.
The study classified COVID rates above 200 cases per 100,000 population as high – and the researchers reported that 14 of the 15 states that did not require people to wear masks in public fell into this category.
They found that none of the eight states with 75% or more self-reported public mask use had a high rate of COVID.
Those eight states had an average infection rate of 109.26 per 100,000 population the following month, compared to 249.99 per 100,000 in states where public mask use was below 75%.
“This protective effect of wearing a mask was evident during four months of the pandemic, even after adjusting the associations for mask policy, distance policy and demographic factors,” Fischer and colleagues said in a press release .
States have had different policies on mask use, and the authors said understanding the link between mask use and COVID rates could help guide policies to reduce pressure from the pandemic. on health care systems, economic instability and death.
They suggested that policies and public health efforts to reduce the spread of COVID should include a focus on increasing the use of masks nationwide.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 and masks.
SOURCE: PLOS ONE, press release, April 14, 2021