FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A new report from the UNT Health Science Center found masks may help Texas avoid another shutdown.

Researchers credit face covering mandates with helping slow the spread of the COVID-19.

“So far I think the evidence is towards the fact that masks, or actually mandates to be more precise, are actually helping us in terms of controlling the spread of the virus,” Dr. Rajesh Nandy, an associate professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the UNT Health Science Center.

His analysis found states with early mask mandates were able to protect against the June surge.

A closer look at the data in North Texas shows a similar pattern.

After the mask mandates went into effect in both Dallas and Tarrant Counties, there was a reversal in trend for the number of daily new cases, ER visits and hospitalizations.

The change was especially sharp in Tarrant County.

“So that also indicates that even in a late stage, it is quite effective, at least in our area,” said Dr. Nandy.

It is so effective he believes it may help keep the economy open.

“The study did point out that if people do continue to wear masks, it should be able to avoid a lockdown in the State of Texas,” said Governor Greg Abbott.

However, with the number of daily new cases still high and hospitals operating at 80% capacity, Dr. Nandy says you can’t rule it out in the future.

“Right now it’s kind of in the hands of the people to prevent another lockdown or shelter in place, because if people wear masks and maintain the social distancing guidelines, it’s more likely than not we will be able to sustain the current level or maybe even see a decline,” said Dr. Nandy.

The report also found that North Texans started limiting their mobility in mid-June, which also helped stabilize the number of new cases.

Dr. Nandy says it is further proof people’s own behavior can have an impact on controlling the pandemic.

READ THE REPORT HERE

Caroline Vandergriff