Take action for masks in healthcare settings


Join us in writing to the president, our governors, state and federal representatives and tell them to take action to bring back masks in healthcare.

When you finish sending a letter, use our call-in toolkit to reinforce the message: the current COVID surge endangers us all. Bring back universal masking in healthcare.

Our letter to elected officials is below. You may send it using our form, or borrow our letter in part or full to communicate with your representatives or community leaders.

Suggested Letter to Reps:

Requiring masks in healthcare is urgent for patient, visitor and staff safety. Much COVID transmission is asymptomatic. Multiple studies show universal masking lowers transmission, particularly if using N95s. Universal masking is crucial, especially in today’s COVID, flu and RSV surge, to reduce aerosol transmission of viruses in healthcare.

Ending healthcare mask requirements endangered us all, especially elderly, immunocompromised and disabled people – and healthcare workers. Hospital-acquired COVID has a 5-10% mortality rate. Many people now are delaying care to avoid needlessly infectious settings.

Healthcare systems are overwhelmed. An estimated 47 million US residents already suffered Long COVID by late 2022, and we still lack treatments. We need layered protection, including masks, tests, air filters and ventilation.

Please take action to make universal masking the standard of care, with respirator masks provided to workers, patients and visitors in healthcare settings.”

The US is currently in a large COVID surge, with flu and RSV rates also high. Multiple studies show universal masking lowers transmission, particularly when respirators are used. Universal masking is crucial to reduce viral transmission and help ensure that healthcare settings are healing places, not dangerous ones. Current CDC guidelines on healthcare masking reflect undue influence from business interests to recoup lost profits and keep people at work. CDC guidance and state policies that let hospitals and nursing homes remove mask mandates are putting patients, staff, and us all at risk by increasing the spread of viruses transmitted through infectious aerosols.

Lack of protection in healthcare disproportionately impacts people at higher risk for severe outcomes, including immunocompromised, disabled, and elderly people. Hospital-acquired COVID-19 is particularly dangerous — with a mortality rate as high as 510% in parts of Europe. In the US, the CDC stopped requiring hospitals to report hospital-acquired COVID, so we have no way to know the scope of the danger. Many people now are delaying care to avoid healthcare settings that are needlessly infectious. 

Prevention is urgent for numerous reasons — including because many healthcare systems are overwhelmed, and because we lack effective treatments for Long COVID, which can impact and disable anyone, even young, healthy, vaccinated people. A recent estimate from Census Bureau surveys is that, already by late 2022, as many as 47 million US residents had developed Long COVID. An estimated 2 to 4 million people in the US are out of work because of it. Increasing evidence shows that each COVID reinfection raises everyone’s risk of Long COVID and adverse outcomes.

COVID spreads in the air like smoke, so mask mandates can prevent much transmission. Much COVID transmission is from people without symptoms, so people often spread the virus without knowing it. That’s a major reason why layered protection — combining masks, tests, ventilation and more — is essential.

Join us in demanding, alongside prominent infectious disease physicians and community advocates, that universal masking must become the new standard of care, much as gloves were adopted amid the HIV pandemic. Everyone has a right to safe medical care.

Act now for safer healthcare.  

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