Former Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to relax its mask guidance was “premature” and “wrong,” citing a surge in cases driven by the delta variant of the coronavirus.
In a series of Saturday tweets, Dr. Adams compared the CDC’s May 13 guidelines easing the use of facial coverings to his call early in the pandemic with White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci against facial coverings.
“Last year Tony Fauci and I famously, prematurely, & wrongly advised against masks. I felt it was the best call at the time, but now regret it. I’m worried the CDC also made a similarly premature, misinterpreted, yet still harmful call on masking in the face of delta variant,” Dr. Adams tweeted.
Los Angeles County on Sunday implemented a mandate for residents, including those who have been vaccinated, to wear masks indoors to combat a spike in COVID-19 cases, even though the CDC guidelines say that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks.
Dr. Adams, who served in the Trump administration, said that the “sooner CDC says we were wrong, & hits the reset button, the better. Trust me — I know more than anyone.”
“Instead of vax it OR mask it, the emerging data suggests CDC should be advising to vax it AND mask it in areas with Upwards arrow cases and positivity- until we see numbers going back down again,” Dr. Adams tweeted. “CDC was well intended, but the message was misinterpreted, premature, & wrong. Let’s fix it.”
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said Sunday that local governments have the flexibility under the CDC guidance to reimplement their own mask mandates.
“What the CDC did in its guidance, about close to two months ago now, is based on the science, saying that your risk of getting sick or transmitting the virus was low if you were fully vaccinated,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “They gave communities and individuals the flexibility to make decisions about what to do about masks.”
Dr. Murthy also predicted that other counties would follow the Los Angeles example.
“In areas where there are low numbers of vaccinated people or cases are rising, it’s very reasonable for counties to take more mitigation matters, like the mask rules that you see coming out in LA, and I anticipate that will happen in other parts of the country, too,” he said.