State health officials are cautiously optimistic that Minnesota’s second wave of COVID-19 infections is cresting. Over a two-week period, the number of daily confirmed cases has declined 13 percent.
This has some wondering if this is proof that the mask mandate is working—a question fielded by Minnesota commissioner of health Jan Malcolm at her weekly press briefing August 19.
“It’s always difficult to attribute specific causality to different interventions in terms of what percent of impact might one or the other have had. But we’ve certainly seen what we would kind of describe as stabilization in our case levels albeit at a higher level than what we wish we were seeing.” said Malcolm
Governor Tim Walz issued the executive order mandating the wearing of face coverings in indoor spaces on July 25th.
Still, this news of a possible leveling off of cases comes as Minnesotans grapple with “caution fatigue,” which, as the pandemic wears on, can leave some less vigilant when it comes to maintaining social distance, hand washing and mask-wearing.
Mayo Clinic infectious disease specialist Dr. Greg Poland says these preventative measures will pay off in the long run.
“Strict adherence to those things in toto—doing all of them together—is a very powerful antidote to this virus… We’ll be better off if we just cooperate together,” said Poland.