A National Mask Mandate Would Literally Boost The Economy

by Madison Vanderberg
US President Donald Trump tours a Honeywell International Inc. factory producing N95 masks during hi...

An economist studied the link between wearing a mask and the positive effect it would have on the economy

The coronavirus pandemic has truly shown us how much people prioritize the economy over human life, so today’s news should be great news for the “open the economy!” group. An economist did the math and discovered that if the U.S. had a national mask policy and if everyone wore a damn mask, it would save the U.S. economy from taking a 5% GDP hit. Seeing as the people who still don’t believe that masks “work” (they do) and the people who demanded that the country reopen is one giant overlapping Venn Diagram, I can only assume that this news should shut them the hell up and strap on a mask.

Currently, four states have reversed their reopening strategies with California, Arizona, Florida, and Texas closing down establishments like bars in an attempt to curb the coronavirus spread. Also, some businesses never reopened and individual companies like theme parks and movie chains have continually delayed their reopening dates. But you know what would increase the likelihood of places like movie theaters and bars reopening again and jumpstarting the economy? Wearing masks!

Jan Hatzius, Goldman Sachs chief economist, studied the link between COVID-19 and mask-wearing and not only did he find that a national mask mandate would slow the spread of the coronavirus, but it would also boost the economy.

“We find that face masks are associated with significantly better coronavirus outcomes,” Hatzius said (via CNBC). “Our baseline estimate is that a national mandate could raise the percentage of people who wear masks by 15 [percent] and cut the daily growth rate of confirmed cases by 1.0 [percent] to 0.6%. These calculations [also] imply that a face mask mandate could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP.”

Hatzius put it in slightly more human terms when he said, “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.”

Unfortunately, a national mask mandate from the White House feels like a tall order, considering the fact that President Trump is never seen with a mask on and Vice President Pence reluctantly wore a mask to an event in Texas recently and feebly stated that “wearing a mask is a good idea,” which is not the same thing as a national order to wear a mask. On the other hand, now that masks could theoretically improve the economy, Trump might finally start listening.