WASHINGTON–The U.S. Surgeon General and former Indiana Health Commissioner says the Trump administration is “trying to correct” the messaging on wearing masks as a way to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Back in March, Surgeon General Jerome Adams told the public not to wear masks because, at the time, that’s “not what the science said.” In an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday, Adams explained why the message changed while wearing a mask in the interview.
“Everything we knew about coronaviruses before that point told us that people were not likely to spread when they were asymptomatic,” said Adams. “So the science at the time suggested that there was not a high degree of asymptomatic spread. We learned more.”
Adams said there was also a concern about people hoarding personal protective equipment, which compounded shortages in hospitals and other medical facilities.
“That was a part of it, but the primary reason was because of the science. I want the American people to understand that we follow the science. When we learn more, our recommendations change,” said Adams.
In terms of responding to the coronavirus, Adams said the next two to three weeks are critical.
“The disease course is about two to three weeks, so just as we’ve seen cases skyrocket, we can turn this thing around if we get a critical mass of people wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing,” said Adams. “We’ve sent out 10 teams to the most problematic areas and we have another 9 going out this week.”
Adams insisted the country is in a better place than earlier this year and that we’re better able to respond to the virus.
“We’ve had a 300% increase in personal protective equipment. We’re doing a much better job protecting the vulnerable. It’s why you’re seeing the age of cases being diagnosed drop by over a decade and a half. We are doing 600,000-700,000 tests per day, but we do need to do more testing in certain areas. That’s why we have these strike teams going through the problem areas,” said Adams.
Adams said the CDC will get more guidelines out to schools soon.