Contact: Beth Casteel | 202-868-4007

SHEA Supports Biden Facemask Order and Urges Action on New Research
Epidemiologists highlight ongoing shortages of PPE is some healthcare settings

ARLINGTON, Va. (Jan. 21, 2021) — The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America strongly supports executive orders signed by President Biden requiring facial masks on federal property, airplanes, trains, and buses as part of his effort to encourage widespread mask use over the next 100 days.

Facemasks paired with other public health measures, like avoiding indoor gatherings, are the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 before and after vaccination to save lives and reduce the heavy load on healthcare systems.  

SHEA applauds the call within the executive order for research grants to study best practices for implementing effective mask-wearing and physical distancing policies. An evidence base to inform clinical practice, policy, and prevention strategies for COVID-19 and future pandemics is urgently needed. To advance this research, SHEA released a COVID-19 Research Agenda today identifying 10 areas where more research is needed, including understanding the socio-behavioral adaptive, and contextual reasons for not following personal protective equipment guidance.

The availability of personal protective equipment to healthcare personnel continues to be an issue in many healthcare facilities. The Biden Administration should go a step further and use the Defense Production Act to address supply chain issues and ensure masks are available to healthcare personnel. It is crucial that healthcare facilities can readily provide adequate supplies of masks and other PPE for the safety of healthcare professionals, COVID-19 patients, and other patients.

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The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) is a professional society representing more than 2,000 physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world who possess expertise and passion for healthcare epidemiology, infection prevention, and antimicrobial stewardship. The society’s work improves public health by establishing infection-prevention measures and supporting antibiotic stewardship among healthcare providers, hospitals, and health systems. This is accomplished by leading research studies, translating research into clinical practice, developing evidence-based policies, optimizing antibiotic stewardship, and advancing the field of healthcare epidemiology. SHEA and its members strive to improve patient outcomes and create a safer, healthier future for all. Visit SHEA online at shea-online.org, facebook.com/SHEApreventingHAIs and twitter.com/SHEA_Epi.