Studies have repeatedly found mandates encourage mask use and slow COVID spread. But politics and lawsuits make them unattractive to policymakers.
As the delta variant ran rampant this summer, Missouri officials pleaded with the federal government to allow a $100 gift card program to incentivize COVID-19 vaccines. The problem: Hospitals largely weren’t interested.
Mask mandates saved lives and prevented COVID-19 infections in Missouri’s biggest cities during the worst part of the delta variant wave, an analysis by the state Department of Health and Senior Services shows. But the analysis, conducted at the request of Gov. Mike Parson’s office in early November, was never made public — until a public records requests pried it free.