Dr. Richard Pan Statement on Changes to Public Masking Guidelines

February 28, 2022

SACRAMENTO – Dr. Richard Pan, state senator representing the Sacramento region and Chair of the Senate Health Committee made the following statement regarding CalHHS Secretary Ghaly’s announcement that California will implement changes in public masking guidelines:

“Protecting the health of the public demands collective action where each individual’s decision cumulatively increases or reduces total disability and death in the entire community.  During the pandemic, cumulative rates of vaccination and masking in communities affected the spread and impact of COVID-19 in each community and state.  People who are immunocompromised or disabled, people of color, essential workers, health care workers and young children have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and mask and vaccination requirements gave greater protection to them and our entire population.

While the peak of the omicron variant wave has past and COVID-19 rates are decreasing, they remain high and too many Californians remain vulnerable, especially if a new variant increases infection rates again. In following the science, I will continue to wear a mask indoors in public spaces and large mass gatherings where social distancing is not allowed, and I join Secretary Ghaly in asking all Californians of good conscience to continue to wear masks indoors to protect the most vulnerable among us. As a pediatrician and a father, I want schools to remain open and safe and educators need to ensure all students, including many at-risk for COVID, are protected by vaccination, universal masking, good ventilation, and testing. And our leaders should not tolerate bullying, intimidation or the assault of any Californian choosing to wear a mask in public.

While California has done better than most states, too many have died of COVID-19 including over a thousand U.S. children, and too many others are suffering COVID related disabilities including long COVID. Two-thirds of voters in California support mask and vaccine requirements because they care about the safety of their family and neighbors, and we caring Californians will lead by example.”