- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 12, 2020

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Sunday invoked extreme past medical prescriptions like cocaine and heroin to explain the Trump administration’s shifting guidance on whether the general public should wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s important for people to understand that once upon a time we prescribed cigarettes for asthmatics, and leeches and cocaine and heroin for people as medical treatments,” a mask-clad Dr. Adams said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “When we learn better we do better.”

Dr. Adams had said on the program in March that “masks do not work for the general public” in protecting people from coronavirus infection.

In early April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidance to suggest members of the general public should wear masks.

“We’ve learned more about asymptomatic spread,” Dr. Adams said. “The American people need to know that science is about giving the best recommendations you can and when you learn more you change those recommendations.”



President Trump, who has resisted wearing a mask in public, donned one when he visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday. Members of the president’s team rushed to share pictures and praise the mask-clad Mr. Trump for the move.

Dr. Adams said the administration is trying to correct the messaging on masks but that it’s “very hard to do.”

He said any mask mandate would work best at the state and local level.

“If we just try to mandate it, you have to have an enforcement mechanism and we’re in the midst of a moment when over-policing has caused many different individuals to be killed for very minor offenses,” he said. “That is an important consideration.”

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