Government mandates that require people to wear masks in public can slow the spread of COVID-19, a new report published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds, and communities that don't enact such orders may face dramatic increases in new cases.
The report explored the striking differences among counties in Kansas during the summer: Some adopted mask mandates, while others did not.
In early July, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order for residents to cover their faces while in public places. COVID-19 cases were surging at the time, especially in the more populated areas of the state.
By Kansas state law, individual counties could opt for less stringent orders. Among the state's 105 counties, 24 adhered to the mask mandate and 81 opted out, the CDC reported.
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"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," the study authors wrote.