CHICAGO — In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and evidence that shows that physical distancing is the only effective mechanism to stop the spread of the virus, the American Medical Association (AMA) today sent a letter to the National Governors Association (NGA) urging all states to issue statewide stay-at-home orders.

The AMA also called on the NGA and governors to enact emergency orders to close non-essential businesses, limit non-essential activities and prohibit gatherings during this critical stage of conducting a uniform national response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“In this urgent moment, it’s time for all states to start enforcing physical distancing and stay-at-home policies, practices that are crucial in limiting the virus’s long term effects on our country and health care system” said AMA CEO and EVP James L. Madara, M.D. “That’s why we’re urging states that haven’t yet implemented such orders take action immediately – because doing so will help slow the spread of the virus and save lives.”

 

The full text of the letter is below:           

Dear Mr. McBride,

On behalf of the American Medical Association (AMA) and our physician and medical student members, I am writing to urge the National Governors Association (NGA) and its member governors to support statewide, emergency orders to close non-essential businesses, limit non-essential activities and prohibit gatherings during the critical stages of the response to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Physical distancing is the only effective mechanism to slow the exponential spread of the virus and decrease the anticipated spike in COVID-19 cases across all states. As physicians, we are honored to serve and put our lives on the front line to protect our patients and communities, but we need the help of policymakers as we take on this immense challenge. It is vital that states keep residents at home to avoid overwhelming our health care systems and depleting the equipment, resources and manpower needed to care for the influx of critically ill patients.

Viruses know no borders. Therefore, a uniform response to the pandemic across all states is critical and stay-at-home orders are a necessary defense to turn the tide against COVID-19. We strongly urge all states to issue stay-at-home orders to residents if they have not done so already. These directives will save lives.

The AMA stands ready to assist NGA and governors across the country in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Sincerely,

James L. Madara, M.D.

Media Contact:

AMA Media & Editorial

ph: (312) 464-4430

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.