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As COVID-19 Cases Approach 5 Million in U.S., Infectious Diseases Leaders Call on White House for Unified Action on Masks

In a letter sent to Vice President Mike Pence today, leaders of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and its HIV Medicine Association are urging the White House to issue a strong federal directive calling for mask requirements in all states to curtail the spread of COVID-19 across this country, protect the economy and safely reopen schools.

Noting that the number of people in the United States diagnosed with the disease is approaching 5 million, and that nearly 160,000 people nationwide are known to have died of COVID-19, IDSA President Thomas File, Jr., M.D., MSc, FIDSA and HIVMA Chair Judith Feinberg, M.D., FIDSA underscore the need for urgent and unified action.

They ask the administration to launch a public education campaign on the purpose and proper use of face-coverings, call for all states to issue mask-wearing requirements and to protect the health of national leaders and “lead by the power of example,” by requiring all individuals within the White House to wear masks when in the presence of other people.

“While state and local requirements are particularly effective at increasing the use of masks, this is the time for national solidarity as COVID-19 has made significant inroads into rural areas that were initially considered ‘safe,’” the letter says.

IDSA and HIVMA represent more than 12,000 infectious diseases and HIV physicians, scientists, public health professionals and other health care providers on the frontlines of COVID-19 responses, at home and abroad.

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