One month after statewide mask mandate, California's daily COVID case average has increased by 162%

The governor has also ordered that reopened schools must implement masks as well.
By Daniel Payne
Last Updated: July 18, 2020 - 2:36 pm

One month after California Gov. Gavin Newsom unilaterally ordered state residents to wear masks in most public settings, the average daily number of coronavirus cases in the state has increased by over 160%. 

Newsom's June 18 order "mandate[d] that face coverings be worn state-wide" while in "any indoor public space," while on public transit, during virtually every form of work in which the public might be involved in some way, while walking through "hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities," while in "any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance," and in outdoor settings where six feet of distance between individuals is not possible.

Every state resident older than two years old is bound by the mandate; a small number of exceptions exempt individuals due to medical conditions and other limited circumstances. 

In spite of those strict directives, cases have continued to rise in the state, continuing an upward trend that was already in full swing when the mask mandate went into effect. 

The website of Johns Hopkins University, which offers pandemic tracking tools for every U.S. state, says average daily cases in California have increased from 3,385 on the day of Newsom's order to 8,889 as of July 16, an increase of 162%.

Though Newsom's mask mandate appears to have had little effect on the trajectory of the virus in California, the governor nevertheless this week imposed additional mask requirements on the state, ordering that most students who return to school in the fall will be subject to "strong mask requirements," namely that "all staff and students in 3rd grade and above will be required to wear a mask or face covering" during the school day.

Newsom, like many other public officials, has claimed masks are necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19, but his own directive from last month stops short at actually calling them effective, instead merely stating that they "could" help. 

"There is scientific evidence to suggest that use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission," the order said.