SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) As fears of COVID 19 cases continue, the controversy about wearing masks does as well. The Hostess City has imposed a mask mandate despite disapproval from Governor Brian Kemp who says it’s not enforceable. Mayor Van Johnson disagrees and has said dozens of times in recent months that “we know that masks slow the spread of COVID 19.”
Now new data from South Carolina’s Department of Heath and Environmental Control (DHEC) indicates local mask ordinances are helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“This new data shows us what we already knew, wearing face masks works,” said Dr. Linda Bell, S.C. State Epidemiologist. “We’re strongly supportive of these local leaders’ initiatives that are centered on protecting the health and wellbeing of their communities.”
The data compared COVID cases in jurisdictions that have mask requirements to places that don’t. Officials said that places with mask requirements have shown a 46.3 percent greater decrease in the total number of cases during the four weeks after the mask requirements were implemented.
“The residents in jurisdictions that acted first are seeing the benefits earlier,” Bell said. “This shows the sooner prevention measures are adopted, the sooner we all benefit.”
South Carolina officiasl said data analysis also shows:
• Those jurisdictions with mask requirements in place have seen an overall decrease of 15.1 percent of total cases for the four weeks after the requirements were implemented compared to before the requirements were in place. This is an overall decrease of 34.6 cases per 100,000 people from before the mask requirements to after.
• During the same time frame, those jurisdictions without mask requirements have experienced an overall increase in total cases of 30.4 percent, as well as an average increase of 24.1 cases per 100,000 people when compared to jurisdictions with a mask requirement in place.
“We will be in a much better position in four to six weeks if South Carolinians practice physical distancing and use a mask,” Bell said. “Together, we can completely reverse our fortunes and create safe environments for our business recovery, for our lifestyle recovery, and particularly for our students returning to school in a few short weeks, but we must act more aggressively, and now.”