NATIONWIDE -- As the nation and Texas have largely reopened their economies following stay-at-home orders, local leaders are calling on people to maintain social distancing and wear facial coverings in public spaces.

What You Need To Know

  • Research indicates wide use of facial coverings would greatly reduce spread of COVID-19

  • Authors state masking should be made mandatory or strongly recommended

  • Best results shown when 80% of people wear masks in conjunction with social distancing

  • Austin and Bexar County have moved to require mask usage inside businesses, public spaces

According to the results of a new study, that may be critical to overcoming the surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations that have occurred in Texas and several other states in the past few weeks.

According to the study, conducted by a team of international experts, the spread of the novel coronavirus would be drastically reduced if 80 percent of the population wore a facial covering and combined the action with social distancing. The results did not hold up when that was reduced to 50 percent.

Among the key recommendations made by researchers are the following:

  • Masking should be mandatory or strongly recommended for the general public when in public transport or public spaces, for the duration of the pandemic.
  • Masking should be mandatory for individuals in essential functions (health care workers, social and family workers, police and military, construction workers, etc.).
  • Countries should aim to eventually secure mass production and availability of appropriate medical masks.
  • Until supplies are sufficient, members of the general public should wear nonmedical fabric face masks in public spaces. Medical masks should be reserved for health care workers.

“Results show a near perfect correlation between early universal masking and successful suppression of daily case growth rates and/or reduction from peak daily case growth rates, as predicted by our theoretical simulations,” the study, which has yet to be peer reviewed, states.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler on Wednesday ordered businesses within the city to require that employees and customers wear masks.

In Bexar County, by executive order, all commercial entities providing goods or services must implement a health policy, which should require, at minimum, for all employees and visitors to wear a face masks.