Masks work: Latest data shows all mask-optional counties surrounding Mecklenburg have higher COVID rates

graphic by Rae LeGrone

At last week’s meeting of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education, a board member called for revisiting the district’s mask mandate, saying, “Despite the indoor mask mandate, Mecklenburg County disease prevalence data is basically the same as the entire region. Most of the counties around us do not have mask mandates.

It’s a claim that deserves investigating.

According to today’s New York Times average daily cases per 100,000 data, every single county surrounding Mecklenburg with a masks-optional policy for schools has a higher COVID case rate. The only exception to that trend is Cabarrus, where just a few days ago the Board of Education voted to stop requiring masks.

Masks work.

On Wednesday, new County Health Director Dr. Raynard Washington will recommend that the Board of County Commissioners rescind the mandate requiring masks be worn in all indoor public spaces in Mecklenburg County.

There is no word whether Dr. Washington will recommend masks continue to be worn in schools.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Strong Schools NC Toolkit’s most recently updated edition (Feb 10) says “It is recommended that schools have a universal masking policy in place for everyone (age 2 and older), in areas of high or substantial transmission.”  Mecklenburg County is still experiencing high community transmission, as is every county in our state.

The CDC continues to advise that masks should be worn indoors by all students, staff, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of their vaccination status.

You can communicate your thoughts on the matter to Dr. Washington at

Contact your county commissioners to let them know how you think they should vote as well:,,,,,,,,

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