Making masks mandatory can also save the economy, says Goldman Sachs economist


TORONTO – As more and more jurisdictions order masks to be made compulsory in public places, protests have been raised against the temporary restriction that these ordinances impose on individual liberty. Although generally modest and ineffective in changing public policy, the protests have attracted attention because of their opposition to what are widely seen as useful measures designed to save lives.

Now, a new group of professionals are entering the fray, arguing that mandatory mask orders are not only about protecting public health, but also saving the economy.

Jan Hatzius, the chief economist at Goldman Sachs, released a report last week calling for a national mask warrant in the United States. If the country does not take this step, he said, it will have to resort to more severe locking measures that could reduce the US economy by 5%.

Investors are already worried about what will happen to the US economy due to the rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in many southern states, said Hatzius.

“What Goldman Sachs is trying to tell people is that there is a cost of not controlling coronaviruses,” Marvin Ryder, associate professor at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business, told CTV News Channel on Tuesday. Hamilton.

“If you don’t master this, there are serious consequences. There is only one choice and it would be a severe lockout. ”

These bans are a major blow to the economy, as businesses close and consumers stop spending money. The Canadian economy plunged 7.5% in March and an unprecedented 11.6% in April, as large parts of the country were closed to weather the initial wave of the pandemic. In the United States, where the measures taken were less strict and more disparate, the economy contracted again by 17% between January and April, according to Goldman Sachs.

Many countries have made it mandatory to wear the mask in at least some public gathering places during the pandemic, notably in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Mexico and India. There is no such national mandate in Canada or the United States, although some individual jurisdictions in each country have adopted similar policies. Wearing a mask in indoor public places is now mandatory in Toronto and will be later this month in Montreal.

A recent Nanos Research poll for CTV News found that 54% of Canadians support mandatory masks in all public spaces across the country, and an additional 25% are somewhat supportive. Some doctors and public health experts have also lobbied for mandatory masks, arguing that this would be a particularly interesting initiative in provinces where COVID-19 remains a greater public concern.


Ryder described the Goldman Sachs report as an attempt to convince those who disagree with the public health message that there are other benefits to ” [giving] a little bit of civil liberty “and accept the requirements of public mask.

“A small compromise means that we can maintain the economy,” he said.

Goldman Sachs research has found that mandatory masks see about 25% of their population switch to wearing them always or frequently in public in the first month or so, in addition to those who already wear them often.

« [This] suggests that a national mask mandate could increase the use of face masks in the United States by statistically significant and economically significant amounts, particularly in states such as Florida and Texas that currently do not have a full mandate and who are experiencing some of the worst epidemics, “wrote Hatzius.

Research also found that new COVID-19 case rates drop significantly starting about a week after a state’s mask mandate takes effect, and continue to drop for at least the month. next, mortality rates also decline.

States without a mandatory mask order accounted for half of the US population, but two-thirds of all new COVID-19 cases as of July 1, said Hatzius.

“If a warrant for a face mask significantly reduces coronavirus infections, it could be useful not only from a public health perspective, but also from an economic perspective, as it could be a substitute for new bans that would affect otherwise GDP, “he said.

Whether masks are mandatory or not, Americans are more likely to wear them in public than Canadians, according to a recent survey by the British firm YouGov.


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