Jerome Adams: CDC Should Revise Mask Guidance

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Jerome Adams, who served as Surgeon General in the Trump administration, is urging the Centers for Disease Control to rethink its mask guidance.

Adams’ concerns were spurred on by the rise of covid cases across the U.S. due to the Delta variant and vaccination rates dropping.

In a Washington Post op-ed Wednesday, Adams wrote, “The agency urgently needs to revise its guidance on masking to combat the rapid growth in covid-19 infections driven by the delta variant.”

He acknowledged he knows personally “what it’s like to be well-intentioned but wrong on masking,” because in early 2020 he said the general public should not be masking up.

When the CDC relaxed mask guidelines this year, Adams wrote that he “initially thought that the revised guidance might encourage more people to get vaccinated,” but in hindsight, “it’s clear that the message many Americans heard was that, vaccinated or not, masks were gone for good.”

No one wants a return to the fear, pain and isolation of last year’s shutdowns. But short of lockdowns (or the “let ’er rip” approach to risking infection that endangers countless lives, including our still largely unvaccinated youth population), we have two primary options: vaccinations and masking. We must work hard to increase vaccinations while simultaneously preparing the public for masking. The CDC could help by acknowledging that its prior messaging has not been effective and actually harmful. Instead of vax it or mask it, people might need to vax it and mask it.

Some places like LA County have reinstated mask mandates due to rising covid cases, and Adams said that while vaccines are still the best way to fight covid, “masks are the next best tool that officials have in places where vaccination levels remain low despite covid cases rapidly rising.”

Back in May Adams criticized the CDC for “abysmal” communication on its masking policy changes.

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