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Article

COVID-19 Policy Differences across US States: Shutdowns, Reopening, and Mask Mandates

by 1,2,* and 1,2
1
Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
2
Department of Global Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9520; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17249520
Received: 29 November 2020 / Revised: 14 December 2020 / Accepted: 16 December 2020 / Published: 18 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
This work used event study to examine the impact of three policies (shutdowns, reopening, and mask mandates) on changes in the daily COVID-19 infection growth rate at the state level in the US (February through August 2020). The results show the importance of early intervention: shutdowns and mask mandates reduced the COVID-19 infection growth rate immediately after being imposed statewide. Over the longer term, mask mandates had a larger effect on flattening the curve than shutdowns. The increase in the daily infection growth rate pushed state governments to shut down, but reopening led to significant increases in new cases 21 days afterward. The results suggest a dynamic social distancing approach: a shutdown for a short period followed by reopening, combined with universal mask wearing. We also found that the COVID-19 growth rate increased in states with higher percentages of essential workers (during reopening) and higher percentages of minorities (during the mask mandate period). Health insurance access for low-income workers (via Medicaid expansion) helped to reduce COVID-19 cases in the reopening model. The implications for public health show the importance of access to health insurance and mask mandates to protect low-income essential workers, but minority groups still face a higher risk of infection during the pandemic. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; state policy; shut down; reopen; mask mandate; Medicaid expansion; essential worker; minority COVID-19; state policy; shut down; reopen; mask mandate; Medicaid expansion; essential worker; minority
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, X.; Warner, M.E. COVID-19 Policy Differences across US States: Shutdowns, Reopening, and Mask Mandates. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 9520. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17249520

AMA Style

Zhang X, Warner ME. COVID-19 Policy Differences across US States: Shutdowns, Reopening, and Mask Mandates. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(24):9520. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17249520

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhang, Xue, and Mildred E. Warner 2020. "COVID-19 Policy Differences across US States: Shutdowns, Reopening, and Mask Mandates" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 24: 9520. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17249520

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