CDC study found easing mask and restaurant rules resulted in more Covid cases and deaths as some states try to lift restrictions
Patrons Sari and Peter Melendez enjoy lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen, the famous delicatessen store founded in 1888, on the first day of returning to indoor dining for New York City during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on Dec. February in New York 2021.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
The relaxation of mask mandates and the reopening of restaurants have led to an increase in Covid-19 cases and deaths, according to a new study by the CDC. The agency urges states not to aggressively lift health restrictions.
According to the study, which examined the county’s data between March and December, mask mandates implemented by local governments were able to slow the spread of the virus from around 20 days after they were implemented.
“Allowing local restaurants was associated with an increase in daily growth rates of COVID-19 cases 41 to 100 days after implementation and an increase in daily growth rates of deaths 61 to 100 days after implementation,” the US researchers wrote Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Masking mandates and restricting local dining at restaurants can help limit the transmission of COVID-19 through the community and lower the growth rates in cases and deaths.”
The study found that mask requirements were associated with a decrease in the daily growth rate of Covid-19 cases and deaths by more than 1 percentage point 20 days after they were implemented. Eating in restaurants was associated with an increase in the case growth rate of 41 to 60, 61 to 80 and 81 to 100 days after the restrictions were lifted by 0.9, 1.2 and 1.1 percentage points, respectively, according to the study.
The researchers added that these measures will be important in preventing highly transmissible variants of the coronavirus from spreading undiminished, which could lead to more cases, hospitalizations and deaths, medical experts have warned.
“This report is an important reminder that with current levels of Covid-19 in communities and the continued spread of communicable virus variants that have now been identified in 48 states, strict preventative measures are essential to put an end to it.” Pandemic, “CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House Covid-19 press conference on Friday.
“It also serves as a warning against premature lifting of these preventive measures,” said Walensky.
Senior U.S. health officials have repeatedly warned in recent weeks that the emergence of the new variants, particularly strain B.1.1.7 first identified in the UK, could reverse the nation’s success in containing its outbreak.
The USA reported a daily average of around 62,950 new cases in the past week. This is a significant decrease from the high of nearly 250,000 cases per day reported by the US in January. This comes from a CNBC analysis of the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The drop in cases has since lost steam, a worrying trend that has left infections at alarming levels that could rebound if the variants go into effect, senior health officials warn.
“There is a light at the end of this tunnel, but we have to be prepared that the road in front of us may not be slippery,” said Walensky.
Some states have resigned their economies despite requests from the Biden administration, including White House chief medical officer Dr. Anthony Fauci, urged local leaders to wait a few more weeks for cases to show signs of further decline and for more vaccines to be administered.
“I don’t know why they’re doing this, but it’s certainly bad advice from a public health perspective,” Fauci told CNN on Wednesday when asked about states lifting their Covid restrictions. The scene recalls last summer when states began lifting restrictions too early, followed by a spate of cases across the American sun belt.
“What we don’t need right now is another increase,” said Fauci.
Texas, Mississippi, and Connecticut all moved this week to allow companies to resume operations in their states at full capacity. Both Texas and Mississippi also decided to lift their statewide mask mandates, despite state governors saying residents should continue to cover their faces.
On Thursday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced that she would lift her state’s mask mandate from April 9. She said that while this was the right thing to do, she respected those “who object and believe this is a step too far in going beyond government.” “”