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the coronavirus crisis

CDC study finds mask mandates reduced COVID-19 cases and deaths

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study has found that mask mandates have been associated with fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths, as some states move to lift theirs.

The CDC released a new study Friday that looked at the relationship between mask mandates and COVID-19 cases and deaths between March 1 and Dec. 31, and it found that "mandating masks was associated with a decrease in daily COVID-19 case and death growth rates within 20 days of implementation."

The mask mandates were associated with a 1.9 percentage point decrease in COVID-19 death growth rates 100 days after being implemented, the study said. Additionally, the study also looked at rules surrounding restaurants, and it found that allowing on-premises dining was "associated with increases in daily COVID-19 case growth rates," as well as increases in death growth rates.

"Mask mandates and restricting any on-premises dining at restaurants can help limit community transmission of COVID-19 and reduce case and death growth rates," the study said. "These findings can inform public policies to reduce community spread of COVID-19."

The study was released days after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced the statewide mask mandate there would be lifted, a step that was also taken in Mississippi. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky earlier in the week warned states against easing their COVID-19 restrictions, saying the U.S. could "completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also said this week the idea of easing COVID-19 restrictions at this point in the pandemic is "inexplicable."