Make Face Covering/Masks Mandatory For Iowa

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If we initiate a face covering mandate immediately for the state of Iowa, the spread and associated effects from the COVID-19 pandemic would slow, giving the best the best chance/opportunity to properly decrease the rate of infection, leading to safer health and wellness overall in our communities and providing the best circumstances to start the 2020-2021 school year properly. A recent study published in Health Affairs, for example, compared the COVID-19 growth rate before and after mask mandates in 15 states and the District of Columbia. It found that mask mandates led to a slowdown in daily COVID-19 growth rate, which became more apparent over time (www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/06/417906/still-confused-about-masks-heres-science-behind-how-face-masks-prevent The state of Iowa provides data the the age of infection continues to become lower and lower. 48% of cases are ages 18-40 (coronavirus.iowa.gov/pages/case-counts). Also take into account the high risk category many of Iowa's teachers find themselves within. Currently 17.5% of Iowa teachers are 55 years of age or more (nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/tables/sass1112_2013314_t1s_002.asp). Many of the return to school mandates may not be feasible for some or blatantly ignored by others. "Students will be expected to wear a mask when they're not in class and parents are being asked to take their student's temperature before they leave for school."(www.siouxlandnews.com/news/local/sioux-city-school-board-adopts-return-to-learn-plan-for-2020-2021-school-year A lower infection rate overall will allow businesses to operate at a higher/full capacity as well, providing positive financial ramifications to the communities they serve and the state as a whole. At this time, Goss and Strain estimate that Iowa’s economy has lost $1.6 billion in overall economic activity. This includes the loss of 243,237 in direct and spillover jobs, $557.8 million in lost wages and salaries, and $73.7 million in lost self-employment income. A recent study by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University estimates COVID-19’s impact on Iowa’s agriculture is approximately $6 billion per year loss (www.thegazette.com/subject/opinion/guest-columnist/first-look-at-the-economic-impact-of-covid-19-on-iowas-economy-20200517 ).

Josiah Swanson

R.N., B.S.N.