Emergency Physicians Urge Americans
to Continue Covering their Face in Public
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[August 03, 2020]
WASHINGTON, D.C.— As regions of the country are
seeing rebounding rates of COVID-19, the American College of
Emergency Physicians (ACEP) reminds everyone that practicing social
distancing and continuing to cover your face when in public is the
best recourse to slow the spread of the virus.
“As emergency physicians continue to battle the
greatest public health crisis of our generation, you can do your
part to stop the virus by covering your face when you need to be
around others,” said William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP.
“Although COVID-19 continues to disrupt our way of life, we as a
nation can band together in this simple step to protect ourselves
and our neighbors.”
While medical professionals continue to urge anyone with COVID-19
symptoms to self-isolate, even those that don’t suspect they have
the virus should cover their face because they could be asymptomatic
and still be contagious. The infectious viral particles emitted when
someone talks, breathes, coughs, or sneezes can remain in the air
for up to three hours.
Reports have shown that covering your face with a mask or cloth
during those infrequent times you need to be in public have
effectively flattened the curve. According to a recent study from
The Lancet spanning 16 countries, there is a 17 percent reduction in
risk of infection for those wearing a mask or face covering versus
those not covering their face.
The CDC and ACEP recommend that people who are not medical
professionals wear cloth or homemade masks in public rather than
tighter fitting medical-grade masks, like the N95. Currently, CDC
recommends that anyone above the age of two wear a face covering,
with exceptions for those who have trouble breathing or cannot
remove a face covering without assistance.
Without a cure, personal choices and safe behaviors are the best
defense against spreading COVID-19 and overwhelming our health care
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Although it may be inconvenient or uncomfortable,
covering your face does not meaningfully deprive the body of oxygen.
Workers in many professions wear masks that meet National Institute
of Occupational Safety and Health standards all day without
experiencing breathing issues. Many of the masks worn by people in
fields like construction or manufacturing are heavier than the cloth
coverings recommended for the public.
“Communities may be reopening but we are definitely not out of the
woods yet. We cannot let down our guard. We can all do our part to
safeguard our communities and prevent the spread of the virus,” said
Dr. Jaquis. “Cover your face, wash your hands frequently and
practice social distancing. These three simple steps offer the best
protection that we have until a vaccine is developed.”
Visit www.emergencyphysicians.org for more information about
protecting yourself from COVID-19.
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national
medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing
education, research, public education and advocacy, ACEP advances
emergency care on behalf of its 39,000 emergency physician members,
and the more than 150 million Americans they treat on an annual
basis. For more information, visit www.acep.org and
[Text from file received from