Wear a mask – save a life and the economy

Governor Gavin Newsom strongly advocated again July 1 for the use of face masks. Wearing a mask is a “sign of someone who gives a damn,” Newsom said during his noon briefing.

Health experts agree with Newsom — wearing a mask will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent needless death.

But there’s a new voice entering the debate — Wall Street heavyweight Goldman Sachs. The investment bank released an analysis Monday that addresses the importance of mask wearing to saving the economy and calling for a national mask mandate.

After an exhaustive study, Goldman Sachs estimated that a national mandate to wear masks in the United States could cut the daily growth rate of confirmed cases by one percentage point to .06 percent.

“We find that face masks are associated with significantly better coronavirus outcomes,” wrote Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs.

“A national face mask mandate could potentially substitute for renewed lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5 percent from GDP,” Goldman Sachs argued in the Monday report.

President Trump weighed in on the subject Wednesday during an interview with Fox Business. “I don’t know if you need mandatory, because you have many places in the country where people stay very long distance. You talk about social distancing. But I’m all for masks,” he said.

Respected economist Constance Hunter also weighed in on wearing face masks. “The virus has taken away our freedom and people are saying, ‘I want my freedom back,’ but the mask is a misguided target for one’s negative feelings,” she said.  “The mask can actually give us our freedom.”

Local health care officials have listed the wearing of face masks as a critical component to fighting COVID-19. “When we are out in public we protect ourselves by washing our hands and practicing social distancing; we protect others by wearing a mask,” said Public Health Director Andrew Woodruff.

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