HealthDay News — Implementation of statewide mask mandates is associated with a reduction in COVID-19-associated hospitalization growth rates, and mask use has been found to be high at universities, according to 2 studies published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Heesoo Joo, PhD, from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues examined the association between implementation of statewide mask mandates and COVID-19-associated hospitalization growth rates during March 1 to Oct. 17, 2020. The researchers found that during the first 2 weeks after implementing statewide mask mandates, weekly hospitalization growth rates decreased by 2.9% among adults aged 40 to 64 years. Hospitalization growth rates declined by 5.5% among those aged 18 to 39 and 40 to 64 years after mask mandates had been implemented for at least 3 weeks.

Lisa C. Barrios, DrPH, from the CDC COVID-19 Emergency Response Team, and colleagues estimated the proportion of persons wearing masks and wearing masks correctly at 6 rural and suburban universities with mask mandates. Mask use was recorded for up to 8 weeks by trained student observers. The researchers found that 85.5% of the 17,200 observed persons wore masks, with 89.7% wearing masks correctly (overall correct mask use, 76.7%). Overall, 91.7% wore masks correctly among persons observed indoors. There was variation noted in the proportion wearing masks correctly indoors by mask type, from 96.8% and 92.2% for N95-type masks and cloth masks, respectively, to 78.9% for bandanas, scarves, and similar face coverings.

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“Direct observation at 6 universities indicated that mask use was high on campuses in locations where masks were mandated,” Barrios and colleagues write.

Abstract/Full Text – Joo

Abstract/Full Text – Barrios