Researchers estimate the mandate would “meaningfully” increase mask usage across the country by 15% and cut the daily rise in new coronavirus cases by between 0.6% and 1%.
“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 because it could substitute for renewed lockdowns that would otherwise hit GDP,” the researchers wrote.
Using face coverings to slow the spread of the virus could be a substitute for strict stay-at-home measures that would otherwise cut 5% — or $1 trillion — off the U.S. GDP, the analysts found. The impact would especially be felt in states such as Florida and Texas, neither of which require face coverings.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has already issued a statewide mandate requiring face masks in high-risk settings.
Last week, presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said he would use federal power to mandate wearing a mask in public if he were president.
“The one thing we do know is these masks make a gigantic difference. I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask. Anyone to reopen would have to make sure that they walked into a business that had masks,” Biden told KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh while wearing a black mask.
Biden’s comments came after Trump recently told The Wall Street Journal that masks are “a double-edged sword” and also suggested that masks are being worn as a political statement, rather than a health precaution, to show disapproval of him.