If everyone in the U.S. wore a mask, the coronavirus pandemic could be "under control" within four to eight weeks, Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield said in a discussion led by medical journal JAMA on Tuesday.

The big picture: JAMA published an editorial on Tuesday co-authored by Redfield that points to research papers showing that the positivity rate of confirmed cases can decrease in populations with masking. "The time is now. We really need to embrace masking," he said.

What he's saying: "If we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I think in four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control."

  • "I am heartened to see more and more people now. I'm glad to see the president wear a mask this weekend — the vice president. Clearly in their situation, you can easily justify they don't need to because of all the testing around them and they know they're not infected. But we need them to set the example."

By the numbers: The CDC published two reports on Tuesday that studied how wearing face coverings can reduce COVID-19 spread for businesses and how mask usage was easily adopted among some racial and ethnic groups from April to May.

  • The incidence of cloth face coverings was higher in all sociodemographic groups in the U.S., among Black Americans, Hispanics, people 39 years and older, as well as those living in the Northeast.
  • Another case study shows 139 clients were exposed to two symptomatic hair stylists with confirmed COVID-19. Both the stylists and customers wore face masks and no symptomatic secondary cases were reported.

Go deeper: CDC expands list of who's most at risk for the coronavirus

Go deeper

Jul 15, 2020 - Health

Alabama's GOP governor issues statewide mask mandate

Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Alabama's Republican Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide mask mandate on Wednesday as coronavirus cases continued to soar across the South, saying at a press conference: "We're pleading with the people of Alabama to wear a mask."

Why it matters: Alabama has reported more than 56,000 coronavirus cases and over 1,100 deaths, with more than 2,000 new infections reported on Tuesday. Approximately 30 Alabama hospitals have limited or no ICU beds available, and only about 12% of ICU beds are available statewide, according to state health officer Scott Harris.

Feinstein proposes withholding relief funds from states without mask mandates

Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement Thursday that she will introduce an amendment to the Senate's next coronavirus stimulus bill that would withhold federal relief funds from states that do not require people to wear masks in public.

Why it matters: While several states have mandated face coverings in the last two weeks as new coronavirus infections surge across the country, 22 states currently have not issued statewide mask mandates for public settings.

Jul 15, 2020 - Health

A consensus is finally emerging on masks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Four months after the first lockdowns, there's a real possibility of a nationwide consensus on face masks.

Why it matters: As is increasingly the case in our fractured society, states and businesses led the way, finally followed by the federal government.