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It may be weeks before mask mandate affects infection numbers

Experts expect a statewide mask mandate will cause COVID-19 infections to level off – just not immediately.

INDIANAPOLIS — When it comes to tracking COVID-19 numbers in Indiana, the Regenstrief Institute takes a deep dive. 

Their dashboard looks at all kinds of metrics for cases and hospitalizations.

“We’re providing the state with guidance on 'What do these numbers mean?' and 'What are the trends looking like and where is this disease headed?'” said Dr. Brian Dixon, director of public health informatics at the Regenstrief Institute.

So back-to-back days of record cases, while alarming, wasn’t altogether surprising.

“Given the trends that we have been watching, particularly over the last 2-3 weeks, we expected the number to continue to climb,” said Dixon.

It is true that most new cases being identified are from younger Hoosiers who don’t frequently require hospitalizations, but they say it’s likely infection numbers will only get higher in the coming days.

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But they also account for preventive steps, and with a statewide mask mandate beginning next week, they expect infections to level off – just not immediately.

“Yes, it should have a major effect on cases and hospitalizations amongst those people who are picking it up,” said Dixon. “These kinds of prevention measures take two to three weeks to show an effect, so for example back in march after the governors stay at home order, it took a good two to three weeks before we saw cases and hospitalizations level off.”

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