Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Sunday said that the Trump administration is now attempting to “correct” its previous guidance on wearing masks as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the country.
Last March, Adams said during an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “masks do not work for the general public and preventing them from getting coronavirus.”
However, Adams said that the Trump administration is “trying to correct” its mixed messaging on masks during his Sunday morning appearance on the program. The surgeon general’s remarks came a day after President Trump sported a mask publicly for the first time during a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
“We’re trying to correct that messaging,” Adams said. “But it’s very hard to do.”
Adams said the administration’s shift to encouraging the public to comply with mask wearing requirements is due to more knowledge on how the novel coronavirus spreads.
“Everything we knew about coronaviruses before that point told us that people were not likely to spread when they were asymptomatic,” Adams said. “So the science at the time suggested that there was not a high degree of asymptomatic spread. We learned more.”
Adams added there was also a “very real concern about hoarding PPE” and “people dressing up in trash bags as health care workers” in light of shortages in hospitals and other medical facilities.
“That was a part of it, but the primary reason was because that’s what the science said,” Adams said. “And I want the American people to understand: we follow the science and when we learn more, our recommendations change. But it’s hard when people are continuing to talk about things from three, four months ago.”
Adams then claimed that he has “consistently” urged the public to wear a face covering to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the past three months.
“It will help slow asymptomatic spread,” Adams said. “It will help with us reopen churches and schools and have prom next year and have football in the fall.”
Watch Adams’ remarks below:
Surgeon General Jerome Adams is pressed on the Trump administration's mixed messaging on masks pic.twitter.com/xeM5KhlEvk
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) July 12, 2020