The mask mandate by Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has been in effect since 8 am June 29. By now, the community should be seeing a trend.
Yet in the past 10 days, the number of COVID-19 cases in the municipality have steadily continued, climbing in fact, with an average of 16 cases a day.
The incubation period for COVID-19, is on average 5-6 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It can be up until 14 days.
By now, if Anchorage residents are being vigilant about wearing masks in public, and if the masks actually work against infection, there should be a noticeable drop in cases in the Anchorage municipality.
Anecdotally, Anchorage residents appear to be following the mask mandate in stores, work stations, and other public places. They don’t always wear their masks properly, or handle them like the toxic items they may be, but they appear to making an effort.
MRAK looked at the current health literature and found little credible published data on whether the masks mandates are effective.
In Washington state, where the mask mandate went into effect on June 26, the number of cases remains on the increase, at least in Seattle, where 535 cases were diagnosed on July 7:
In an academic study conducted over a number of U.S. jurisdictions where masks were mandated, the daily case rate declines by 0.9, 1.1, 1.4, 1.7, and 2.0 percentage-points within days 1–5, 6–10, 11–15, and 16–20, and 21+ days after signing of the mandates. The declines were labeled statistically significant, and contrasted with the pre-mandate growth in COVID-19 cases.
That study contradicts the experience of Seattle, and also Anchorage, with its mask mandate and relatively consistent cases. Anchorage is halfway through the experiment; the Berkowitz mask mandate ends on July 31 in Anchorage, unless extended by the mayor.
Anchorage has 344 active cases of COVID-19, and 245 people in Anchorage have recovered from the illness. Nearly 20 percent of the current active cases were diagnosed since July 4. That’s 11 percent of all the Anchorage cases diagnosed (598 as of this writing) being detected in the past five days.
It’s probably too early to tell if the Berkowitz mask mandate is working for the general, non-hospital population, which is not trained medically on how to use masks. But at this point, there’s no evidence that it is working.