Skip to Content

Bipartisan Toomey and Bennet Resolution: “Please Wear a Mask”

July 30, 2020
Photo

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) are teaming up again to encourage Americans to wear a mask when they venture out of their homes.

In late March, Senators Toomey and Bennet became the first two members of Congress to publicly support mask wearing to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Their efforts included encouraging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to update safety guidelines to encourage the use of masks. These efforts paid off as both the CDC and the Task Force endorsed mask wearing shortly thereafter.

In keeping with their support for people wearing masks when they venture out to public places, Senators Toomey and Bennet are introducing a bipartisan resolution that highlights the growing evidence that mask wearing indoors, when social distancing is not an option, can help combat the spread of COVID-19.

"Wearing a mask should not be controversial. Study after study affirms that wearing a mask reduces the spread of coronavirus," said Senator Toomey. "As our economy continues to reopen and until a vaccine is available, wearing a face mask when you venture out is the most practical and cost effective manner in which we, as Americans, can do our part to protect one another. Please, for the benefit of your neighbors, friends, and those who live in your community, wear a mask."

"As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country, this is a moment to do all we can to prevent the spread of the virus by wearing a mask in public," said Senator Bennet. "The science is clear and consistent-when we wear a mask, we significantly limit transmission of the virus. We should take personal responsibility and remember that my mask protects you and your mask protects me."

Senators Toomey and Bennet's resolution is available below in its entirety.


Supporting mask-wearing as an important measure to limit the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Whereas the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (referred to in this preamble as "COVID-19") occurs primarily through respiratory droplets [1];

Whereas research shows that shedding of the virus that causes COVID-19 can occur 2 to 3 days before the onset of symptoms [2];

Whereas research conducted long before the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the utility of wearing masks in providing protection against the transmission of respiratory infections;

Whereas various types of cloth masks, including masks made of cotton, gauze, and other fabrics, reduced infection rates among health care workers and others during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and the Manchurian plague of 1920 through 1921, and were used by health care workers and others to protect against tuberculosis in the 1930s and 1940s [3];

Whereas a study published on July 9, 2008, that tested the efficacy of homemade face masks in reducing respiratory infections among the general population concluded that any type of general-use mask is likely to decrease viral exposure and infection risk on a population level [4];

Whereas a study published on May 22, 2013, that attempted to test the protective value of homemade masks compared to commercial masks in an influenza pandemic concluded that homemade masks would be better than no facial protection at all [5];

Whereas, on April 3, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that the people of the United States wear nonmedical, cloth masks in public places [6];

Whereas the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that cloth face coverings fashioned from household items can substantially reduce the dispersion of exhaled droplets and provide acceptable breathability [7];

Whereas a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from May 11 through May 13, 2020, found that 76 percent of adults support mask-wearing outside of the home [8];

Whereas a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on July 17, 2020, found no secondary cases of COVID-19 in 139 mask-wearing clients of 2 symptomatic mask-wearing hair stylists with confirmed cases of COVID-19 [9];

Whereas the benefit of each additional cloth mask worn by members of the public has been estimated to be between $3,000 and $6,000 due to the ability of masks to slow COVID-19 transmission and, as a result, to decrease mortality relating to the virus that causes COVID-19 [10]; and

Whereas a study published in BMJ found that mask-wearing by both infected individuals and the contacts of those individuals to be 79 percent effective in reducing COVID-19 transmission [11]: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate-

(1) recognizes the importance of mask-wearing in limiting the transmission of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (referred to in this resolution as "COVID-19");

(2) recognizes that medical-grade masks should be reserved for use in health care settings and among vulnerable populations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic;

(3) recognizes that mask-wearing should be coupled with other measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and State and local public health agencies, including frequent handwashing and physical distancing, to further reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission; and

(4) encourages the people of the United States to wear masks in indoor public places, in accordance with the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at times when physical distancing is not allowable to protect against unknown transmission of COVID-19.



____________________________________

[1] "Clinical Questions about COVID-19: Questions and Answers," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/faq.html

[2] Xi He, et al., "Temporal dynamics in viral shedding and transmissibility of COVID-19," Nature, May, 2020, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0869-5.pdf

[3] Abrar A. Chughtai, Holly Seale, and C. Raina Macintyre, "Effectiveness of Cloth Masks for Protection Against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July, 2020, https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/10/20-0948_article

[4] Marianne van der Sande, Peter Teunis, and Rob Sabel, "Professional and Home-Made Face Masks Reduce Exposure to Respiratory Infections among the General Population," July, 2008, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2440799/

[5] Anna Davies, et al.,"Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would They Protect in an Influenza Pandemic?," Cambridge Core, May, 2013, https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness/article/testing-the-efficacy-of-homemade-masks-would-they-protect-in-an-influenza-pandemic/0921A05A69A9419C862FA2F35F819D55

[6] Colin Dwyer and Allison Aubrey, "CDC Now Recommends Americans Consider Wearing Cloth Face Coverings In Public," NPR, April, 2020, https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/03/826219824/president-trump-says-cdc-now-recommends-americans-wear-cloth-masks-in-public

[7] John T. Brooks, MD, Jay C. Butler, MD, and Robert R. Redfield, MD, "Universal Masking to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Transmission-The Time Is Now," JAMA, July, 2020, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2768532

[8] "CDC calls on Americans to wear masks to prevent COVID-19 spread," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0714-americans-to-wear-masks.html

[9] M. Joshua Hendrix, MD, Charles Walde, MD, Kendra Findley, MS, and Robin Trotman, DO, "Absence of Apparent Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from Two Stylists After Exposure at a Hair Salon with a Universal Face Covering Policy - Springfield, Missouri, May 2020," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, July, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6928e2.htm?s_cid=mm6928e2_w

[10] Jason Abaluck, et al., "The Case for Universal Cloth Mask Adoption and Policies to Increase Supply of Medical Masks for Health Workers," April, 2020, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3567438

[11] Yu Wang, et al., "Reduction of secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in households by face mask use, disinfection and social distancing: a cohort study in Beijing, China," May 2020, https://gh.bmj.com/content/bmjgh/5/5/e002794.full.pdf