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CDC cites Great Clips incident as evidence for masking

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Springfield health and government officials have said masking likely stopped the spread of COVID-19 among Great Clips Inc. customers two months ago. Now, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is using the Springfield incident as a case study.

A CDC report released yesterday indicates Great Clips' adherence to company and community rules on face coverings likely was the reason that 139 clients did not contract the virus while two hair stylists worked with symptoms but wore masks. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department last month emphasized the "value of masking" when clearing the customers at the 1864 S. Glenstone Ave. store in the Plaza Shopping Center.

The Springfield case is presented as evidence by the CDC that "broader implementation of face covering policies could mitigate the spread of infection in the general population."

"Consistent and correct use of cloth face coverings is recommended to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2," the report reads, referring to the virus that causes COVID-19.

The report states the average age of the Great Clips customers was 52 years old and that 56.8% were men. Of 104 customers interviewed by the Health Department, 102 reported wearing face coverings for their entire appointment, according to the report.

The CDC report came two days ahead of the enforcement of the Springfield City Council-approved mandate requiring face masks in public. The order takes effect tomorrow.

During a news briefing yesterday morning, CoxHealth President and CEO Steve Edwards pointed to the expected release later that day of the CDC report.

"The Great Clips exposure will now instruct the world how to more safely navigate the pandemic," he said, referring to the CDC report as the "most compelling data in the nation and in the world about the merits of masking."

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