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Effects of New York's Executive Order on Face Mask Use on COVID-19 Infections and Mortality: A Modeling Study

By Mingwang Shen, Jian Zu, Christopher K Fairley, José A. Pagán, Bart Ferket, Bian Liu, Stella S. Yi, Earle Chambers, Guoqiang Li, Yuming Guo, Libin Rong, Yanni Xiao, Guihua Zhuang, Alexis Zebrowski, Brendan G. Carr, Yan Li, Lei Zhang

Posted 27 Oct 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.26.20219527

BackgroundNew York City (NYC) was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. On April 17, 2020, the State of New York implemented an Executive Order that requires all people in New York to wear a face mask or covering in public settings where social distancing cannot be maintained. It is unclear how this Executive Order has affected the spread of COVID-19 in NYC. MethodsA dynamic compartmental model of COVID-19 transmission among NYC residents was developed to assess the effect of the Executive Order on face mask use on infections and deaths due to COVID-19 in NYC. Data on daily and cumulative COVID-19 infections and deaths were obtained from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. ResultsThe Executive Order on face mask use is estimated to avert 99,517 (95% CIs: 72,723-126,312) COVID-19 infections and 7,978 (5,692-10,265) deaths in NYC. If the Executive Order was implemented one week earlier (on April 10), the averted infections and deaths would be 111,475 (81,593-141,356) and 9,017 (6,446-11,589), respectively. If the Executive Order was implemented two weeks earlier (on April 3 when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended face mask use), the averted infections and deaths would be 128,598 (94,373-162,824) and 10,515 (7,540-13,489), respectively. ConclusionsNew Yorks Executive Order on face mask use is projected to have significantly reduced the spread of COVID-19 in NYC. Implementing the Executive Order at an earlier date would avert even more COVID-19 infections and deaths.

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