State-issued mask mandates were associated with a reduction in COVID-19 hospitalization rates across the United States during the early phase of the pandemic. As new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 cause spikes in COVID-19 cases, reimposing mask mandates in indoor and congested public areas, as part of a layered approach to community mitigation, may reduce the spread of COVID-19 and lessen the burden on our healthcare system.
The proportion of the US population subject to state-issued COVID-19 prevention measures varied greatly throughout the pandemic. During periods of high disease transmission and low coverage of state-issued measures, local or federal interventions may provide additional layers of protection if local or federal governments can issue prevention policies for their jurisdictions. Research demonstrates that early, sustained, and layered implementation of