PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Local researchers are urging states to work together on COVID mitigation.

Citing the urgent need for data in making public health decisions, Pitt and CMU researchers published their findings in a preprint website and announced the results Tuesday ahead of peer-reviewed publication.

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The scientists say mask mandates and other restrictions can have a big impact on the number of infections. They say statewide orders like mask mandates, gathering restrictions and closing restaurants and bars were associated with fewer deaths.

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“We discovered that some groups of states located geographically close to one another—such as in the Midwest—had similar patterns in case counts, despite the fact that their mitigation strategies were different,” said Rebecca Nugent, Ph.D.

“The clustering that we observed may be correlated with environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, but we think that it’s most likely a reflection of intermingling due to travel.”

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The study shows any mitigation effort takes about three to four weeks to have any measurable effect.