Study finds mask mandates, dining out influence virus spread

Study finds mask mandates, dining out influence virus spread
FILE - In this March 3, 2021, file photo, mariachi perform for diners at a restaurant on the River Walk in San Antonio. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: A new national study adds strong evidence that allowing dining at restaurants can increase coronavirus cases and deaths and mask mandates can slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the study Friday.

During a White House briefing on Friday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said: “All of this is very consistent. You have decreases in cases and deaths when you wear masks, and you have increases in cases and deaths when you have in-person restaurant dining.”

The study was released just as some states are withdrawing mask mandates and restaurant limits. Texas became the biggest state to lift its mask rule earlier this week, joining a movement by many governors to loosen Covid-19 restrictions despite pleas from health officials.

William Hanage, a Harvard University expert on disease dynamics who was not involved in the study, said: “It’s a solid piece of work that makes the case quite strongly that in-person dining is one of the more important things that needs to be handled if you’re going to control the pandemic.”

The new research builds on smaller CDC studies, including one that found that people in 10 states who became infected by the coronavirus in July were more likely to have dined at a restaurant and another that found mask mandates in 10 states were associated with reductions in hospitalizations.

The CDC researchers looked at US counties placed under state-issued mask mandates and at counties that allowed restaurant dining — both at tables outside and indoors. The study looked at data from March through December of last year.

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