July 2, 2020

The Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) calls on the federal government to implement a national mandate to wear a mask or other face covering in public. This mandate should require mask wearing when people cannot maintain physical distancing. Covering the nose and mouth are essential to prevent further spread of COVID-19, to support restarting the US economy, and to reopen schools, colleges, and universities in the fall.

As leading medical organizations that represent more than 800,000 physician members across 45 specialty societies, we urge government authorities to respect science and enact policies that adhere to proven practices that prevent the spread of infectious diseases: universal masking, physical distancing, and frequent handwashing. Testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee this week, both US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert R. Redfield, Jr., MD, and Coronavirus Task Force Member Anthony S. Fauci, MD, urged Americans to wear masks.

Failure to follow these practices will result in thousands of deaths. As organizations guided by science and data, we are committed to advocating for universal mask use, physical distancing, and handwashing. The evidence is clear that these steps can curb the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. As we approach July 4th weekend, we must bolster our nation’s defenses against an uncontrolled pandemic through universal mask use and other evidence-based practices.