Former US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams has said that easing mask guidelines was “premature,” as the delta variant dominates the number of new cases in the nation.
Dr. Adams expressed regret that he and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, did not strongly advocate mask-wearing in the initial stages of the pandemic last year.
Now he expresses concerns that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is repeating the same mistake after it updated its guidelines on indoor mask-wearing.
Dr. Adam tweeted Saturday, “What @CDCgov said was based on the science & conditions at the time, and amounted to ‘you’re safe IF you vax it OR mask it.’ Both the conditions (rising cases) & the science (delta variant) changed, but what people heard and held to was masks were no longer needed…”
In May, the CDC said that about one-third of Americans had been fully vaccinated so those who have gotten their shots “no longer need to wear masks or physically distance.”
Last year, Dr. Adams made several comments on his social media accounts, advising against mask-wearing. In fact, he even advised people to stop buying facemasks out of concern that healthcare professionals would be unable to obtain proper personal protective equipment.
However, on Saturday, he said he regrets his former messages, explaining that the CDC’s decision to ease masking rules was similarly “misinterpreted, premature, & wrong.”
The former surgeon general said, “Now you have health officials, cities & counties (eg LA County), & likely soon states issuing guidance in direct conflict w/ the mask guidance @CDCgov issued a month ago. The sooner CDC says we were wrong, & hits the reset button, the better. Trust me- I know more than anyone.”
However, recently, Los Angeles County has reinstated a mandate for indoor mask-wearing, calling it an “all-hands-on-deck moment” amid a recent surge of new infections due to the highly contagious delta variant.
The mask mandate has already caused some confusion, as the county’s Sheriff Alex Villanueva told residents that his office would not enforce it because it contradicts the CDC guidelines and is “not backed by science,” according to NBC News.
Breakthrough infections can occur among people who are fully vaccinated, but officials said that the vaccines have been proven to be effective against serious cases and hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19.
Earlier this month, the CDC said the highly transmissible delta variant, which was first identified in India, is now the dominant strain across the United States. The officials expressed concerns over this strain, which is specifically affecting young, unvaccinated people.
The Biden administration is increasing its vaccination efforts, encouraging the youth to get vaccinated.
Dr. Fauci said the delta variant is the greatest threat to eliminating the coronavirus last month after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a “variant of concern” in May. The story was published on NBC News.