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Mask Mandates, On-Premises Dining, and COVID-19

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To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

Evidence-based prevention strategies can reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Consistent and correct use of masks can prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission, which predominantly occurs through inhalation and other exposure to respiratory droplets from infected persons. Mask use is particularly important because presymptomatic and asymptomatic spread is responsible for nearly 60% of COVID-19 cases.1,2 Universal and proper masking results in substantial community benefits.2 To better leverage the prevention benefit of masks on community transmission, many states require that people wear a mask in public. As of March 1, 2021, 36 states and the District of Columbia had a mask mandate in effect.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Gery P. Guy Jr, PhD, MPH, CDC COVID-19 Response Team, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30329 (irm2@cdc.gov).

Published Online: April 1, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.5455

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Disclaimer: The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

References
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2.
Honein  MA , Christie  A , Rose  DA ,  et al; CDC COVID-19 Response Team.  Summary of guidance for public health strategies to address high levels of community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and related deaths, December 2020.   MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020;69(49):1860-1867. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6949e2PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
3.
Fisher  KA , Tenforde  MW , Feldstein  LR ,  et al; IVY Network Investigators; CDC COVID-19 Response Team.  Community and close contact exposures associated with COVID-19 among symptomatic adults ≥18 years in 11 outpatient health care facilities—United States, July 2020.   MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020;69(36):1258-1264. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6936a5PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
4.
Guy  GP  Jr , Lee  FC , Sunshine  G ,  et al.  Association of state-issued mask mandates and allowing on-premises restaurant dining with county-level COVID-19 case and death growth rates—United States, March 1–December 31, 2020.   MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021;70(10);350-354. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7010e3PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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Lyu  W , Wehby  GL .  Community use of face masks and COVID-19: evidence from a natural experiment of state mandates in the US.   Health Aff (Millwood). 2020;39(8):1419-1425. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2020.00818PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19: what to do if you are sick. Updated March 17, 2021. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
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Kaufman  BG , Whitaker  R , Mahendraratnam  N , Smith  VA , McClellan  MB .  Comparing associations of state reopening strategies with COVID-19 burden.   J Gen Intern Med. 2020;35(12):3627-3634. doi:10.1007/s11606-020-06277-0PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Science brief: SARS-CoV-2 and potential airborne transmission. Updated October 5, 2020. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/scientific-brief-sars-cov-2.html
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19: variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Updated February 17, 2021. Accessed March 25, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/index.html
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