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Study shows mandatory masks cut number of daily COVID-19 cases in Ontario

Last Updated Oct 6, 2020 at 7:17 am PDT

Summary

SFU economists have found face-covering mandates in Ontario cut new weekly cases of COVID-19 by as much as 25 per cent

A nationwide mask mandate in mind-July could have reduced weekly cases by 25 to 40 per cent: study

Another study shows mandatory mask requirements in Germany were found to have reduced new weekly cases by 40 per cent

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Mandatory mask requirements in Ontario may have cut new weekly cases of COVID-19 in that province by as much as 25 per cent, according to new research from a team of economists at SFU.

The study looked at the timing of indoor face coverings mandated over two months in 34 public health regions in Ontario, which is Canada’s most populous province.

“We find that, in the first few weeks after implementation, mask mandates are associated with a reduction of 25 percent in the weekly number of new COVID-19 cases,” reads the study.

Researchers also found had a nationwide mask mandate been instituted in Canada mid-July, new weekly cases could have been cut by 25 to 40 per cent by the middle of August. According to the research, that would mean about 700 to 1,100 fewer cases per week.

Findings show self-reported mask-wearing jumped by about 30 per cent in places where it was enforced.

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A similar study on mask requirements in Germany found that such measures caused new weekly cases to decline by 40 per cent.

While there isn’t a sweeping mask mandate across B.C., face coverings have been made mandatory on transit in the Lower Mainland.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has pointed out that masks are one layer of protection against COVID-19 and strongly recommends British Columbians wear masks when physical distancing isn’t possible.

On Monday, Henry indicated the province is flattening the COVID-19 curve again.