After a late-spring lull, daily coronavirus cases in the United States again have hit record highs, driven by resurgent outbreaks in states such as Arizona, California and Florida. Hospitals in Houston are already on the brink of being overwhelmed, and public health experts worry that the pandemic’s death count will soon be climbing in tandem with the daily case load.

The dire situation has raised the specter of another round of state-level stay-at-home orders to halt the pandemic’s spread and caused a number of governors to pause or reverse reopening plans. Against this background, a team of economists at investment bank Goldman Sachs has published an analysis suggesting more painful shutdowns could be averted if the United States implements a nationwide mask mandate.

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