With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still raging across the world contributing well over 100,000 deaths in the U.S. and more than 500,000 deaths globally at the start of July 2020, many are pushing for the creation of a national mask mandate to further flatten the curve. As a new wave of recent COVID-19 cases across the country has left the U.S. fearing another surge might be in its future, pandemic pundits are forecasting that a national mask mandate may not be a part of a farfetched future for the country. Let’s look at what effect this would have on the U.S. as a whole until we can reach the point where a vaccine is possible.
How Long Will It Take To Create A Viable COVID-19 Vaccine?
In the history of medicine, rarely has a vaccine been developed in less than five years. With the COVID-19 vaccine however, scientists are racing to produce a safe and effective vaccine by sometime in 2021. In comparison, the mumps vaccine took four years, which is widely considered the fastest vaccine approval in the history of infectious disease. Even if one or more of the vaccines now in the works turns out to be effective, the FDA approval process typically takes a year or longer.
How Effective Are Face Masks At Preventing The Spread Of COVID-19?
Since even the most optimistic forecast for the development of a universal, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is possibly years away from mass distribution, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks seem to be a stopgap solution to limit the virus’ spread. The fact remains that many businesses and industries occupy a space where social distancing is nearly impossible to achieve (i.e. entertainment, travel, events, etc.). If these industries want to continue operating at a profit in the future, a national mask mandate may need to be enforced.
After researchers from Goldman Sachs researched the link between face masks and COVID-19 health and economic outcomes, they found that facial coverings are associated with sizable and statistically significant results. Goldman researchers also said that a national mask mandate could raise the percentage of people who wear masks by 15 percentage points and cut the daily growth rate of cases by 1.0 percentage point to 0.6%. This is enough proof for some to agree that more PPE face masks would be an extreme benefit to the general public health as well as the U.S. economy.
Can A National Mask Mandate Improve The U.S. Economy?
Goldman Sachs researchers also found in the same study that a federal face mask mandate would not only cut the daily growth rate of new confirmed cases of Covid-19, but could also save the U.S. economy from taking a 5% GDP hit in lieu of additional lockdowns. One industry that was hit hard by large shifts in demand was the logistics industry. Those in the logistics industry witnessed in early 2020 exactly how extremely high demand for a certain product can create holes in the market if there is no possibility of restocking.
For a short period of time, it was virtually impossible in some countries to get basic goods such as toilet paper, flour or PPE. When panic spread, people acted without thinking about the strain that their panic buying would put on the economy. If there were to be another spike in COVID-19 deaths this Fall, that might be too large of a burden for some industries that don’t possess a solid Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory management system and distribution partner to help them weather that storm.
What Are The Chances Of A National Mask Mandate In The U.S.?
The chances of a national mask mandate in the U.S. happening in the future is unknown. Case in point, President Donald Trump said on July 1st that he’s “all for masks,” but doesn’t think the U.S. needs a national mandate for people to wear them during the coronavirus pandemic. When it comes to those types of national decisions, President Trump is the one to make them so only time will tell if he feels that a national mask mandate is pertinent in the future.
Since a national mask mandate is likely to be something that is decided with little warning to the general public, businesses and individuals should be ready to handle the influx of face mask buying and hoarding that will likely put a strain on the logistics and PPE manufacturing industries. With this in mind, it’s best to stay proactive and place orders for PPE face masks through a trusted global supply chain partner like Mascon Medical that is highly regarded as a global leader in PPE supply chain distribution during the COVID-19 pandemic.