Kansas counties that didn’t enforce Gov. Laura Kelly’s July mask mandate saw their average weekly coronavirus caseloads double, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released Friday found.
Twenty-four Kansas counties complied with Kelly’s July 2 mask mandate executive order, while 81 opted out, according to the CDC study. New coronavirus cases decreased by 6% in the counties that enforced it compared to a 100% increase in counties that didn’t.
“Rates in mandated counties declined markedly after July 3, compared with those in nonmandated counties,” the CDC said in the report. “Kansas counties that had mask mandates in place appear to have mitigated the transmission of COVID-19, whereas counties that did not have mask mandates continued to experience increases in cases.”
“Masks are an important intervention for mitigating the transmission of SARS-CoV-2,” the report added. (RELATED: REPORT: Tennessee Mayor Says He Won’t Mandate Masks Until Ordered To By The Holy Spirit)
Kelly’s executive order required all residents and visitors to wear a mask when indoors, in a hospital, riding public transportation and outdoors within six feet of others. It also mandated businesses to require masks to be worn in their stores.
On Wednesday, Kelly, a Democrat, issued another mask mandate in response to the state’s recent coronavirus spike, according to NBC affiliate KSHB-TV. Like the governor’s July order, the new mandate allows for counties to opt out because of legislation passed by the Kansas legislature in June that limits her executive power.
“Remember that we are all in this together and together we’ll get through it,” Kelly said Wednesday, KSHB reported.
The CDC study compared coronavirus incidence in Kansas between June 1 and July 2 with incidence between July 3 and August 23.
A Denmark study released Wednesday and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that masks did not reduce coronavirus infection rate by more than 50%. However, the study has been criticized for relying on data produced by volunteers who admitted they didn’t follow the rules of the study, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Average coronavirus cases and deaths per million have been increasing rapidly nationwide for several weeks, according to The COVID Tracking Project. On Tuesday, the U.S. reported 1,862 new coronavirus-related deaths and 192,805 new cases while 82,178 Americans remained hospitalized from the virus.
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