Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s office requested a study that found that mask mandates are effective but then buried the findings amid his criticism of mask mandates, according to the Missouri Independent.
Emails obtained by the outlet show that an aide to Parson, a Republican, requested the study in early November but the results were never made public or even shared with cabinet officials.
The study compared infection and death rates in St. Louis, St. Louis County, Kansas City, and Jackson County to the rest of the state.
The study found that the four areas with mask mandates reported 15.8 new cases per day from April to October compared to 21.7 cases elsewhere.
"I think we can say with great confidence reviewing the public health literature and then looking at the results in your study that communities where masks were required had a lower positivity rate per 100,000 and experienced lower death rates,” wrote Health Director Daniel Kauerauf.
Parson rails against mask mandates:
The study was buried before it could contradict Parson’s attacks on mask mandates, which he has opposed and called “WRONG.”
State Attorney General Eric Schmitt has also filed a lawsuit against St. Louis, St. Louis County, Kansas City, and Jackson County to block their mask mandates.
“Jackson County has imposed an unlawful, arbitrary, and capricious mask mandate that is not supported by the data or the science,” the lawsuit says.
Schmitt spokesman Chris Nuelle disputed the study’s findings.
“We dispute this premise and these charts,” Nuelle told the Independent. “We’ve been clear that Missourians should have the right to make their own decisions, and that government bureaucrats shouldn’t be mandating masks or vaccines. We will continue to fiercely litigate our lawsuits against mask mandates in Missouri.”
Officials from St. Louis and St. Louis County said the findings vindicated their decision to impose mask mandates as Covid cases spiked over the summer.
Kauerauf has also backed mask mandates.
“I rely (on) the experts at the CDC on that. Everything I’ve read, everything I’ve seen: masks work,” he said during a press conference in September.
"It's devastating to see what the Missouri governor did since mask policies do reduce the spread of COVID-19 and would reduce the number of people who become sick and die in Missouri," Julia Raifman, a professor of health law, policy and management at Boston University who oversees the COVID-19 U.S. State Policies Database, told the Independent. "It's devastating to see policymakers not implement policies that would reduce the number of children who are growing up without their parents."