Breaking News: Masks Work

Illustration for article titled Breaking News: Masks Work
Photo: Eric Gay (AP)

Texas was one of the first states to reopen, and it did so without a mandate for wearing masks. Unsurprisingly, infections, hospitalizations, and deaths skyrocketed. Perhaps realizing that he had blown it, big time, Governor Greg Abbott went against the prevailing Republican party line (something for which I give him great credit, even though I didn’t vote for him) and instituted a statewide mask order on July 2. And it seems to be paying off.

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I’m no statistician, but it would seem that the decline in deaths will lag behind a drop in confirmed cases (and there’s no way to know the actual number of people who have or have had the virus). And there are some very bad hotspots right now, particularly Houston and the Rio Grande Valley. Fortunately for me, it looks like Austin is doing pretty well (all things considered), and is doing a better job at controlling the spread than any other large Texas city. That one big spike could be a testing dump, an anomaly, who knows? Still, perhaps there is better compliance in this well educated, tech savvy city. This is the map for Travis County.

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And also, not surprisingly, the University of North Texas recently published a study that found.....wait for it.....masks help slow the spread of the virus!

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Nevertheless, these graphs show that the number of infections per 1000 people continues to rise. And Austin (Travis County) has a higher number per/1000 than the state. Again, I’m no statistician, but it seems to me that these are the numbers that really mean something.

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Anyway, I keep looking for hopeful news, and I’ll take whatever I can find.

Wear your masks, people. Thanks.

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