As July Fourth Approaches, Nation’s Physicians and Public Health Officials Urge All Americans to Take Precautions to Help Prevent Further Spread of COVID-19

July 01, 2020

Statement attributable to:

Susan R. Bailey, MD
President, American Medical Association (AMA)
Nathaniel Smith, MD, MPH
President, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
Jennifer C. Kertanis, MPH
President, National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

ARLINGTON, VA—“In normal times, July Fourth is a day for friends, family, barbecues, and celebrations of everything American. But with COVID-19 cases spiking across the country in the weeks since Memorial Day, these are anything but normal times, and a typical Fourth of July celebration could further spread the virus, endanger lives, overwhelm our health system, and undo the progress made toward reopening sectors of our economy.

“It is incumbent upon us to learn from the past in dealing with this virus. To protect themselves and others, people must limit the size of gatherings, exercise physical distancing, wear masks, and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer regularly. Consider limiting celebration gatherings to those you are already in close contact with, like family members and housemates. Failure to exercise these basic steps will result in a rise in COVID-19 cases, additional hotspots, and larger hurdles in the way of reopening.

“COVID-19 remains contagious and shows no signs of disappearing. We strongly urge everyone in the U.S. to stay vigilant in taking the necessary precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Without a safe and effective vaccine or therapy, our only option is to continue taking these precautionary measures to protect ourselves, our communities, and the most vulnerable among us.”

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated and expanded the list of people who are at risk for becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. With a substantial number of Americans at increased risk of severe illness, the AMA, ASTHO, and NACCHO will continue to highlight the importance of taking preventive measures to combat the pandemic.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.

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. For more information, visit

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit