Panhandle Public Health District Executive Director Kim Engel says the topic of wearing masks has become politically divisive in recent weeks, despite repeated warnings by public health expects that masks are the best defense restricting the spread of COVID-19.
She is seeing a more positive trend among some of the nation’s leaders, even though President Trump is almost never seen wearing a mask.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Americans must have no stigma in wearing face masks.
McConnell has endorsed wearing face masks as part of a “new middle ground” between a return to normal life and strict coronavirus restrictions.
“We need new routines, new rhythms, and new strategies for this new middle ground in between,” said McConnell. “It’s the task of each family, each small business, each employer, and all levels of government to apply common sense and make this happen.”
The same day McConnell issued his statement, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said, “every American has a responsibility to wear a mask,” while on Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence said, “wearing a mask is just a good idea.”
Goldman Sachs analysts found reducing the spread of the virus through mask-wearing could be a substitute for strict lockdown measures that would otherwise shave 5%—or $1 trillion—off the US GDP.
They wrote that “If a face mask mandate meaningfully lowers coronavirus infections, it could be valuable not only from a public health perspective but also from an economic perspective because it could substitute for renewed lockdowns that would otherwise hit GDP.”
The University of Washington has added projections for what universal masking in the state would do to the daily COVID-19 case count in Nebraska.