A new report has said that the U.S. could save its economy from a $1 trillion hit to GDP with mandatory face mask policies.
The report comes from none other than one of the world’s largest banks, Goldman Sachs and is titled “Face Masks and GDP.” The authors map out in detail how widespread usage of face masks could save the US economy from a 5% hit.
That amounts to around $1 trillion potentially saved from the implementation of a nation-wide policy on masks being worn in public areas, and would allow the US to re-open its economy faster than without a mask policy.
A 5%, or $1 trillion saving amounts to savings of around $3,000 per person across the U.S.
These numbers, combined with data from Kaiser about the average cost of a COVID-19 hospital treatment amounting to $20,000 – with an average of $1,300 out-of-pocket expenses – suggests a face mask policy could be extremely effective for the personal financials of American families.
The hypothesis of the researchers is quite simple: personal protective equipment like masks could provide a more economically viable means of controlling the spread of the coronavirus. It reduces the need to lock-down specific areas of the country and eliminate their ability to operate a business, and would – in theory – curb the spread of the virus.
Authors of the report write that “at present, the United States is among the less restrictive countries with respect to face mask mandates. The federal government did issue a national ‘recommendation’ to wear masks in public settings…by contrast, many European countries now have national mask mandates in place.”
“The upshot of our analysis is that a national face mask mandate could potentially substitute for renewed lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% of GDP… our analysis suggests that the economic benefit from a face mask mandate and increased face mask usage could be sizeable,” they said.
The authors added that “by our estimates, the increase in our Effective Lockdown Index (ELI) – a combination of official restrictions and actual social distancing data – subtracted 17% from US GDP between January and April, and other countries with even more aggressive restrictions saw even larger economic effects.”
U.S. President Donald Trump made his first public appearance in a facemask last week at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last night.
Trump even tweeted that he’s “never been against masks, but I do believe they have a time and a place,” suggesting a potential shift in his beliefs toward masks.
Chris Foster, former chief operating officer of Saatchi & Saatchi told CBS News that “the overall macro impact of not wearing a mask on the economy will have a potentially devastating impact on individuals and families.”
“When we don’t have a healthy growing economy, we don’t have jobs, disposable income, we’re not spending on goods and service and it becomes a vicious cycle,” Foster continued to explain. “If we can normalize mask wearing, that’s the fastest way to get kids back in school, parents working, people buying stuff and getting the economy chugging,” he concluded.