Using the data sources above, figures for the total population and the total number of COVID-19 deaths were extracted for each of the fifty states. A COVID-19 death rate was calculated for each state by dividing its number of COVID-19 deaths by its population and then multiplying the result by 10,000. The result was a COVID-19 death rate indicating the number of deaths per 10,000 people. By sorting these individual state rates into two groups — masks mandatory versus masks voluntary — I could calculate the average COVID-19 death rate for each group.

States with a mask mandate: 13.0 deaths per 10,000 population.

States with no mask mandate: 12.6 deaths per 10,000 population.

Since the average COVID-19 death rate is actually lower for the voluntary mask states than it is for the mandated mask states, it is incumbent on advocates for the mask mandate to either reveal the data upon which they arrived at their conclusion or else stop making the claim that masks help keep people safe.