Petition, medical societies urge nationwide mask mandate
More than 4,000 people have signed an online petition urging members of Congress to implement a national mandate that requires all Americans to wear masks or face coverings in public to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The petition, which is still accepting signatures, was started by Illinois Medical Professionals Action Collaborative Team, or IMPACT, an organization co-founded by Shikha Jain MD, FACP. Jain is also host of Healio’s online podcast Oncology Overdrive.
“A national mandate for universal masking will not only save lives, but it will also allow our businesses to reopen with a higher chance of them being able to stay open, it will help make it safer for our children to go back to school, and allow us to begin to rebuild our economy,” Jain, who is also assistant professor of medicine in the division of hematology and oncology at the University of Illinois-Chicago, told Healio Primary Care.
The petition is the latest effort from the medical community to press for nationwide mask wearing. Last week, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) — which, according to its website, has 800,000 physician members across 45 specialty societies — called for a similar mandate.
The AMA, the American Hospital Association and American Nurses Association issued an open letter to the public, asking Americans to take the “simple step” of wearing a mask.
“We are now watching in real-time as a dramatic uptick in COVID-19 cases is erasing our hard-won gains,” the letter said.
The council and the associations said their requests are backed by science, not speculation. To bolster its claim, CMSS also pointed to a previous Senate committee testimony when CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, and Coronavirus Task Force Member and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, urged Americans to wear masks.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America is also imploring the public to adopt the simple protective measure of wearing a mask.
“As infectious diseases and HIV specialists responding to the continuing impacts of COVID-19, we call on all people to do their part to end this public health crisis,” the organization said in a statement.
Currently, the CDC recommends, but does not require, all people older than 2 years except those with trouble breathing or who cannot remove a face covering without help, to wear a cloth face covering in public or when around non-household members.
- AMA. AMA, AHA, ANA urge public to wear a mask to stop COVID-19 spread. https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/press-releases/ama-aha-ana-urge-public-wear-mask-stop-covid-19-spread. Accessed July 7, 2020.
- CDC. Considerations for wearing cloth face coverings. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html. Accessed July 7, 2020.
- Change.org. We Need A Federal Mask Mandate: #AmericaMaskUp. https://www.change.org/p/nancy-pelosi-we-need-a-federal-mask-mandate-americamaskup. Accessed July 8, 2020.
- CMSSS.org. Statement – Respect science, wear masks. https://cmss.org/respect-science-wear-masks/. Accessed July 7, 2020.