A national mask mandate could reduce US GDP losses by 5%

A national mask mandate could help the US avoid another round of COVID-19-related lockdowns, as well as the steep economic losses they would generate, according to research by Goldman Sachs.

The investment bank calculates that social distancing and government restrictions to curb the spread of the virus reduced the US’s gross domestic product by 17% between January and April. A nationwide requirement to wear masks would cut the number of infections, staving off shutdowns and sparing the US economy from a 5% hit to growth, the bank said in a note to investors.

Goldman’s research analysis, led by chief economist Jan Hatzius, is based on data from more than 20 countries and 20 US states, including their mask policies, implementation dates, and mask usage rates. It comes as the number of cases is growing in parts of the US.

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