NH Medical Society Statement on Continued Mask Wearing during the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 20, 2021

The New Hampshire medical community urges individuals, communities, schools and businesses to continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and NH Division of Public Health Services guidelines that highlight the efficacy of wearing masks in slowing the community transmission of COVID-19 in New Hampshire, in conjunction with other prevention measures, until:

1)  COVID-19 vaccination levels reach a community-wide immunity of at least 70%; and

2)  Community spread of COVID-19 continues at a "minimal" community transmission level as displayed by county on the NH COVID-19 data dashboards – less than 50 new infections per 100,000 population over prior 14 days, along with 7-Day PCR test positivity levels below 5%. NH DPHS Level of Community COVID-19 Transmission Definition

These objective goals for vaccinations and community spread are intended to allow communities and businesses to make more informed, science-based decisions on masking and other policies to bring the pandemic to a close. However, there may be situations where individuals should continue to wear masks (such as large gatherings) and businesses should continue to require face masks.

In addition to getting the COVID-19 vaccine and continued wearing masks in public areas, these prevention measures also include avoiding large crowds, staying 6 feet apart from anyone outside your household who is not vaccinated, and practicing frequent hand washing.

“These common-sense prevention measures are proven to reduce the risk of community transmission and are the most effective tools we have in the fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic, so that we can get back to doing the things we love in the Granite State,” said Kenton Allen, MD, NHMS President.

For more information on tools and strategies to support ending the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the #MaskUpNewHampshire and #SleeveUpNH campaigns at https://www.maskupnewhampshire.com/, NH COVID-19 Response at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/ and the COVID-19 Community Corps at https://wecandothis.hhs.gov/.

A joint medical specialty society editorial is also being sent today to NH news outlets with this message. For further information, please contact Jim Potter at james.potter@nhms.org.

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