ACEP Urges Americans To Wear Cloth Masks in Public, Save Medical Masks for Health Professionals

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In response to recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that people should cover their face while out in public given the heightened risk of COVID-19, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is urging the public to use cloth or homemade options, rather than the N95, the tighter fitting mask designed for professional use.

“It is important to protect yourself against COVID-19, but we need to reserve medical masks for emergency physicians and other health professionals,” said William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. “There are severe shortages of protective equipment, including N95 masks, leaving millions of those on the frontlines at risk.”

While production of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks and face shields, is ramping up, there are dire shortages in emergency departments across the country, with little relief in sight. ACEP and other organizations are leading the efforts to get emergency physicians and our other health care heroes the PPE they need through the Get Us PPE campaign at GetUsPPE.org.

“Wearing a cloth or homemade mask during those infrequent times when you need to be out in public, like going to the grocery store, will help slow the spread of the virus,” said William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. “However, social distancing and staying home as much as possible are still the best ways to flatten the curve and prevent our health care system from becoming overwhelmed.”  

Mounting evidence shows that the virus can infect anyone, and that people can spread the virus before they even know they have it. Emergency physicians encourage everyone to stay home and save lives.

ACEP is providing up-to-date patient information and resources about COVID-19 at www.emergencyphysicians.org.

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