Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced the Masks Work Act to provide free cloth masks via United States mail to any American who requests one, as well as authorize a public service announcement campaign and further research into mask efficacy to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“As many states, including California, experience a worrying climb in COVID-19 infection rates, it’s time to take seriously one of the most effective interventions we have – masks and face coverings. Simply put, masks work,” said Rep. Schiff. “Study after study has found that high rates of mask adoption impede the spread of the virus, and that countries where mask wearing is universal have been far more successful than the United States in preventing infection. It’s time for the federal government and our leaders to make crystal clear to the American people that wearing masks when you’re out in public and around others saves lives.”
There is a growing body of scientific research indicating that high levels of mask adoption by a population can reduce transmission of the virus, and may prevent asymptomatic or presymptomatic carriers from unknowingly infecting others.
The Masks Work Act would direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish a program to provide cloth face coverings to any American who requests one free of charge by USPS.
The legislation also directs the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to create a public service announcement campaign to inform Americans about the efficacy of cloth face coverings and why they are recommended by scientific and medical experts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The bill authorizes funds for the National Institutes of Health to conduct further studies on the efficacy of cloth masks and other facial coverings in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Finally, the bill expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that masks and face coverings are an effective and cost-efficient step to control the spread of COVID-19, and that all leaders should encourage Americans to adopt them and model that behavior by wearing masks themselves.
Original cosponsors of the legislation include: Tony Cardenas (CA-29), Andre Carson (IN-7), Sean Casten (IL-6), Steve Cohen (TN-9), Jim Cooper (TN-5), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Ruben Gallego (AZ-7), Chuy Garcia (IL-4), Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), Deb Haaland (NM-1), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Seth Moulton (MA-6), Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), David Price (NC-4), Jamie Raskin (MD-8), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5), Bobby Scott (VA-3), Terri Sewell (AL-7), Albio Sires (NJ-8), Darren Soto (FL-9), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Filemon Vela (TX-34), Susan Wild (PA-7).
To read the full text of the legislation click here.