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Research Shows Mask-Wearing Effectively Brings Down Case Numbers, Hospitalizations

mural of nurse posed like Rosie the Riveter
LM Otero
Associated Press
A mural near a hospital pays tribute to nurses amid COVID-19 concerns in Dallas.

New research from the University of North Texas Health Science Center shows wearing masks is a highly effective way to bring COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations down. 

The report found that after mask mandates were issued, case numbers and hospitalizations in Dallas, Denton and Tarrant Counties appeared to stabilize — especially in Tarrant County where there was a sharp decline. 

But hospitalizations from COVID-19 are on the rise in Collin County where there's no mask requirement. 

Looking at hospital capacity, UNT researchers said it’s unlikely that North Texas hospitals will run out of beds any time soon. However, there is evidence of fatigue for healthcare employees from their work during the pandemic. 

With mask mandates in place and a steady decline in people heading outside the home, UNT researchers found no reason to order people to “shelter-in-place” now. But the report determines that option should not be ruled out if there’s another surge in North Texas.

Rebekah Morr is KERA's All Things Considered newscaster and producer. She came to KERA from NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., where she worked as a news assistant at Weekend All Things Considered.