[Ed. – Bottom line: mandatory masking didn’t lower percentages during the predicted fall surge.]
Since COVID appears to be seasonal and often hits different parts of the nation at different times and Tennessee is a WIDE state, I stuck with only the east Tennessee area for this particular analysis. For simplicity, I also left out counties that chickened out and issued mask mandates in the middle of the time period. Then I ran the numbers for 17 contiguous counties for the period from October 1 to December 22. Nine did not have a mask-mandate in place, while eight did.
Over the allotted period, counties with mask mandates saw 4.7% of their population infected while those without them saw a 4.6% infection rate. Interestingly, Hawkins County, which let its mandate expire at the end of September, had 4.3% of its population infected, while Carter County had 5.1% infected with a mandate in place. Both have nearly identical populations.