Iowa’s healthcare community calls for statewide public mask order

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On July 27, the Iowa Medical Society and a coalition of healthcare organizations representing more than 12,000 Iowa physicians, clinicians, providers, pharmacists, health care facilities, public health professionals, and providers-in-training joined in a letter to Gov. Kim Reynolds calling for a statewide public mask order for all Iowans over the age of two.

In calling for this next step in Iowa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, these organizations noted that ongoing voluntary efforts to flatten the curve and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 have failed to yield sufficient progress in containing the spread of the virus. They referenced the growing body of research, including a recent University of Iowa study, which clearly show that consistent, widespread use of cloth masks in public settings will dramatically slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

“We greatly appreciate Gov. Reynolds’ leadership in responding to COVID-19 and her increased focus on educating Iowans about the importance of mask use to help curb the spread of this disease. Unfortunately, voluntary efforts to encourage public mask use have proven insufficient and the trend in new infections has shifted toward younger adults who are often the most mobile within their communities. It is now apparent that stronger measures are necessary to better protect our fellow Iowans. The Iowa Medical Society, along with this coalition of healthcare organizations, call on the governor to immediately implement a statewide mask order to slow the spread of the virus, to ensure that our state is able to safely reopen and stay open, and most importantly to prevent additional deaths as a result of COVID-19,” said Brian Privett, MD, President of the Iowa Medical Society.

The full letter was signed by leadership from the Iowa Medical Society; the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians; the American Academy of Pediatrics, Iowa Chapter; the American College of Emergency Physicians, Iowa Chapter; the Iowa Society of Anesthesiologists; the Iowa Academy of Ophthalmology; the Iowa Association of County Medical Examiners; the Iowa Oncology Society; the Iowa Nurse Practitioner Society; the Iowa Association of Nurse Practitioners; the Iowa Physician Assistants Society; Leading Age Iowa; the Iowa Primary Care Association; the Iowa Pharmacy Association; and the Iowa Public Health Association.

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