Thursday, September 24, 2020
Lawrence O. Gostin (Georgetown University), I. Glenn Cohen (Harvard), Jeffrey Koplan, Universal Masking in the United States: The Role of Mandates, Health Education, and the CDC, JAMA Online (2020):
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cloth face coverings in public settings to prevent spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Face coverings decrease the amount of infectious virus exhaled into the environment, reducing the risk an exposed person will become infected.1 Although many states and localities have ordered mask use, considerable variability and inconsistencies exist. Would a national mandate be an effective COVID-19 prevention strategy, and would it be lawful? Given the patchwork of state pandemic responses, should the CDC have enhanced funding and powers to forge a nationally coordinated response to COVID-19 and to future health emergencies?