Mask-wearing will be key to ensuring a faster US economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior Federal Reserve official said.
“While monetary and fiscal policy have a key role to play, the primary economic policy from here is broad mask-wearing and good execution of these health care protocols,” Xinhua news agency quoted Robert Kaplan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, as saying in a Fox Business interview on Friday.
“If we all wore a mask, it would substantially mute the transmission of this disease, and we would grow faster. We would have a lower unemployment rate,” Kaplan said.
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“We`d be far less likely to slow some of our reopenings. But we`ve been uneven so far on our mask-wearing.”
Although 20 states and Washington D.C. have implemented mandates requiring individuals to wear masks in public, there is no national mandate, according to Fox Business.
Kaplan also said he expected the US economy to shrink by 35 per cent in the second quarter but projected it will grow in the third and fourth quarters, putting the economy on track to shrink by about 5 per cent for the year.
The US has set an all-time record for new COVID-19 cases for the third week in a row, confirming more than 367,000 new infections this week, while the number of hospitalizations and deaths has risen rapidly, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
The resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the country is threatening to derail the nascent economic recovery as many states have either paused or partially reversed their staged reopening plans.
As of Saturday, the US accounted for the world`s highest number of infections and fatalities at 3,182,385 and 134,073, respectively.