Goldman Sachs Pushing Idea of Mandatory Mask Use

It could help people stay healthy and preserve the nation’s wealth, says Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS).

The banking giant says a federal face mask mandate would not only cut the daily growth rate of new confirmed cases of COVID-19, but could also save the U.S. economy from taking a 5% GDP hit in lieu of additional lockdowns.

Goldman Chief Economist Jan Hatzius said his team investigated the link between face masks and COVID-19 health and economic outcomes and found that facial coverings are associated with sizable and statistically significant results.

"We find that face masks are associated with significantly better coronavirus outcomes," Hatzius wrote in a note to clients. "Our baseline estimate is that a national mandate could raise the percentage of people who wear masks by 15 (percentage points) and cut the daily growth rate of confirmed cases by (one percentage point) to 0.6%.

"These calculations imply that a face mask mandate could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP,” the economist added.

Goldman then analyzed the impact of mandates issued by 20 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia between April 8 and June 24 and compared it to actual face mask usage in public using YouGov COVID-19 respondent data.

The results are "large and highly significant" and show that state mask mandates raise the percentage of people who say they "always" or "frequently" wear masks by about 25 percentage points in the 30 days after the government order.

GS shares hiked $1.45 to $194.92.