APhA Urges American Public to Wear Masks, Keep Social Distancing

July 30, 2020

In an open letter, the American Pharmacist Association’s (APhA) Board of Trustees called for Americans to continue following public health guidelines.

As a result of the increasing numbers of confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, the American Pharmacist Association’s (APhA) Board of Trustees is urging Americans to wash their hands often, wear face coverings, and avoid close contact through social distancing.

“Pharmacists provide care for patients. We protect the public health in communities across the United States, and we are health care professionals who rely on evidence-based public health guidelines. We ask you to follow the science to protect yourselves, your families, and your neighbors, including those most vulnerable in this pandemic,” APhA said in an open letter to the American public.1

Pharmacists are among the most trusted and accessible health care providers as 90% of Americans live within 5 miles of a community pharmacy, APhA pointed out.

“Pharmacies have stayed open throughout the pandemic because we are designated essential workers and committed to taking care of our patients and community. As highly trained medication experts on the patient care team in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, physician’s offices, far-flung military facilities, and within your neighborhood pharmacy, we care about the science. And we care about our patients,” the Board of Trustees wrote.

Face coverings and social distancing are needed, APhA said, especially in light of a recent letter from more than 200 scientists to the World Health Organization that recognized the potential for airborne spread of the virus.2 The scientists proposed taking measures to provide proper ventilation, supplement ventilation with airborne infection controls, and avoid overcrowding, APhA’s Board of Trustees noted.

In addition, more than 4.4 million people in the United States have been infected with COVID-19. Hospitalizations are rising, and deaths have grown to more than 150,000, the Board of Trustees wrote.

“Our country has the highest growth rate of new cases in the world, as the pandemic explodes across dozens of states. In response to the disaster unfolding, more states are shutting back down," the Board of Trustees wrote. “Against this backdrop, our nation is debating the reopening of schools safely for our children, returning to work, and making sure everyone has access to the healthcare they need, as between February and May, a record-setting 5.4 million workers became uninsured due to job losses.”

“As we look toward a brighter future, we must trust the science. Scientists around the world are racing to develop therapeutic treatments, at-home tests, and vaccines against the coronavirus,” APhA Board of Trustees wrote. “Just as the American people have risen to the global challenges facing past generations, if we work together to do what is right, we will end this.”

References

1. APhA Letter to the Public: During COVID-19, Wash Hands Often, Keep Physical Distancing, and Wear a Mask. APhA; July 30, 2020. Accessed July 30, 2020. https://www.pharmacist.com/apha-letter-public-during-covid-19-wash-hands-often-keep-physical-distancing-and-wear-mask

2. Morawska L., Milton D. It’s Time to Address Airborne Transmission of COVID-19. Clinical Infectious Diseases. July 6, 2020. Accessed July 30, 2020. https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciaa939/5867798