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CMA backs Newsom’s call for Californians to take additional action to slow coronavirus spread

April 01, 2020
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health 


For Immediate Release
Contact: Anthony York, CMA
(916) 551-2860 or ayork@cmadocs.org

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom urged Californians to cover their noses and mouths when going out in public to help stop asymptomatic individuals from inadvertently spreading the coronavirus.

During his daily briefing on the COVID-19 crisis, Gov. Newsom stressed that face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing practices recommended by state and public health officials.

“We want to thank Gov. Newsom and his administration for urging the public to take additional measures to protect public health by covering their nose and mouth in public to help slow the spread of this virus, and to help California to continue to flatten the curve,” said Peter N. Bretan, Jr., M.D., president of the California Medical Association. “But we also want to emphasize that this does not mean people should rush out and purchase N-95 masks, and other professional grade protective equipment that is in short supply, and is desperately needed by medical professionals and others on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Californians who are out of the house on essential errands like grocery shopping or picking up medicine are urged to use a scarf, bandana or other protective covering to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Non-hospital grade nose and mouth covers (including fabric masks, homemade masks, scarves, bandanas and gaiters) are acceptable for the general public, essential workers who are not health care workers, and health care workers who do not work directly with patients.

But appearing with Newsom on Tuesday, California Department of Public Health Director Sonia Angell, M.D., warned that people should not feel immune simply because they are wearing facial coverings.

"When we speak about the potential downfalls, which we also must acknowledge, they can be that if people have these masks on, they feel somewhat immune, they feel like they can get closer to other people," Dr. Angell said. "And when they do so, they decrease that great evidence-based intervention that we have which is physical distancing."

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