Save on registration for APHA 2024! Join us in Minneapolis ×

Stop the spread and show you care: Wear a mask to protect others from COVID-19

Date: Jul 30 2020

Contact: Media Relations 

Statement from APHA Executive Director George C. Benjamin, MD

As we surpass 150,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S., one thing has become increasingly clear: To slow the spread of the virus, we need to wear masks.

The American Public Health Association is urging everyone to follow this important advice: When you’re in a public setting or around people not in your household, wear a mask. This is different from some of the early advice you might have received but that is because we have learned more about the virus and how it is spread from person to person in the last few months.

Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization recommend that people wear masks to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading to others. If 95% of people wear cloth masks, this can reduce transmission by at least 30%, according to researchers. That’s a big start.

Wearing a mask doesn’t mean you’re weak, or sick or afraid. It means you care about others around you and you don’t want them to catch this terrible virus.

Mask-wearing is one of the most powerful things we can do to slow the spread of the pandemic. Combined with hand-washing and physical distancing, these simple but scientifically proven tools give us the power to make real inroads against the pandemic.

Join APHA’s Get Ready Campaign by posting a photo of yourself in a mask on social media. Tell us who you wear a mask for with the #Mask4Who hashtag. And share the important information on and to help everyone understand how we can protect each other.

Each of us can do something important in this fight against COVID-19, and that begins with wearing a mask.


The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at