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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is digging in on his belief that mask mandates don’t work despite a health department analysis showing reduced COVID-19 infections and deaths in cities that require face coverings.

The Republican governor on Thursday ripped into a report on the analysis by The Missouri Independent. The Independent and the Documenting COVID-19 project at The Brown Institute for Media Innovation first reported the analysis.

Missouri’s health director says in an email that he has great confidence that areas with mask mandates have lower rates of coronavirus infections and deaths. But Parson says other factors might have contributed and that mandates can backfire.