Scott Statement on CDC Decision to Weaken Coronavirus Protections for Frontline Health Care Workers

March 10, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced guidance to weaken protections for health care workers and emergency responders caring for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

“I recognize that individual facilities may face shortages of certain types of personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators, but there is no evidence that surgical masks are adequate to prevent exposure of frontline health care workers to the virus that causes COVID19. CDC should prioritize conserving equipment and systematically addressing any shortages as they occur, instead of placing every health care worker at increased risk. 

“As we enter into what is likely to be the greatest infectious disease crisis this country has faced in over a century, the CDC needs to follow the evidence and research and direct its energies into improving protections for health care workers, not into eroding them. If our nation's frontline health care workers are quarantined in large numbers, get ill or die, or fear coming to work because they are afraid that they will not be protected adequately, it is not just a personal or workplace problem, it is a national public health disaster.”

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Yesterday, Chairman Scott and Chairwoman Adams sent a letter to HHS Secretary Azar, specifically requesting the CDC not to roll back equipment protections for health care workers.