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LA County Medical Association and Coalition of Southern California Regional Medical Societies Issue Statement Urging Communities to Wear Masks: Medicine for Masks: A Matter of Life & Death

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Los Angeles, CA, November 23, 2020 — On behalf of our nearly 20,000 physician members in the Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, and San Diego, we stand in support our public health officers and implore residents to wear masks outside the home to save lives.

The eight medical society presidents will lead a campaign called “Medicine for Masks” to alert the public about the importance of wearing masks in public to prevent further loss of life, while also stressing the importance of hand-washing and social distancing.  Through this unprecedented regional effort, covering 56,000 square miles and nearly 23 million people, the “Medicine for Masks” effort will deploy social media, earned media and the membership and networks of the eight medical societies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as it collides with the annual flu season.

As you are aware, the U.S. has the world’s highest number of cases and deaths from the Covid-19 virus, with over 12 million infections and over 250,000 deaths, per data from Johns Hopkins University.  A recent study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects that universal masking could save an additional 130,000 lives through the end of February 2021.

The Coalition is also concerned about the potentially devastating impact that a severe annual influenza season could have when combined with rising coronavirus cases, leading to a “twindemic” that risks overwhelming hospitals and PPE supply.  The influenza virus is another life-threatening respiratory illness, with similar symptoms of fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat, and muscle aches.  The flu virus can leave patients vulnerable to a more severe attack by the Covid-19 virus and coming down with both viruses at the same time could be disastrous.  For this reason, we implore residents and their families to also get the flu vaccine. 

We also recognize the importance of promoting continued economic recovery and the safe re-opening of our schools, and support coordinated economic and public health measures that will facilitate these public goals.

View the Official Letter Here