New Policy Supports Wearing of Masks to Reduce Transmission of COVID-19

Washington, DC (July 14, 2020) — The American College of Physicians (ACP) today released policy to support the wearing of surgical or cloth masks by the public in community settings where physical distancing is not possible, and said it may appropriately be required by public officials.

“As physicians, protecting the health of our patients, front line health care workers and physicians, and our communities is paramount. ACP supports wearing surgical or cloth masks in community settings when physical distancing is not possible, and believes that authorities may appropriately require it as part of a comprehensive public health strategy to reduce infections and deaths from COVID-19,” said Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president, ACP. 

The policy recommends that a comprehensive public health strategy should also incorporate physical distancing, education about appropriate mask use (e.g., types of face coverings, application, safe use, and disposal), promotion of preventive hygiene protocols, and widespread diagnostic testing and contact tracing, and consider local demographics, epidemiologic data, and exposure context.

The policy can be found on ACP’s website: Wearing Masks in Community Settings.


About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 163,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Contact: Jacquelyn Blaser, (202) 261-4572,