Jan. 20, 2021
Executive Order on Masks Offers Opportunity to Flatten the COVID-19 Curve
The Infectious Diseases Society of America and its HIV Medicine Association strongly endorse the executive order signed by President Biden today requiring face masks on federal property and other areas of federal authority for the next 100 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We urge governors, mayors, policymakers and residents of communities across the nation to unite behind this action and to require, support and practice mask wearing to control the spread of the virus.
The president’s order comes at a critical point, when vaccines, as well as a plan to accelerate their rollout, offer new hope, but also when more easily transmitted variants of the virus present new challenges.
While those who are vaccinated can be protected from severe illness, they may still transmit the virus to others who are not, underscoring the importance of mask use even among those who are vaccinated. Significant numbers of Americans remain unvaccinated and the duration of vaccine protection remains unclear.
Today, universal use of face masks that cover the mouth and nose remains a crucial component of measures to control the pandemic at home and around the world. Multi-layered and snug fitting masks are most effective. More information and resources are available on the IDSA website and through the IDSA/Ad Council Mask Up America campaign.
Taking all possible precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 will be more important now than ever, with multiple strategies used together and consistently. These measures continue to include:
- Wearing masks that cover the nose and mouth when exposed to people who are not household members, or to household members who are or may be infected with the virus;
- Limiting activities outside of the home;
- Avoiding crowded indoor spaces;
- Maintaining at least 6 feet between yourself and others;
- Frequent handwashing.
The president’s action today, as well as the administration’s COVID-19 rescue plan and vaccine strategy released last week, offers new promise that together we can flatten the curve of COVID-19 in the United States. We urge all people to seize this moment.