Face masks work. They need to be mandatory

“It is heartbreaking to see that (wearing masks) has become somehow a political statement, because that never should have happened,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told the Editorial Board on Tuesday. “This is really about public health, and it shouldn’t matter exactly what your politics are.”…

The latest research estimates that, in states where masks are required, some 230,000 to 450,000 infections might have been averted; infections in Germany were cut by 40% because of masks; and face coverings deflect 90% of exhaled breath that can infect others with viral droplets. In Asian countries such as China and Japan, where the wearing of masks has been strictly enforced or is a cultural norm, COVID death rates have been far lower than in the United States.

Good leaders lead by example, but President Donald Trump has only stoked the furor over masks with his stubborn refusal to wear a face covering in public. The ripple effect has been predictable. Communities have backed off on mandating masks, in some cases after death threats were received.