President Joe Biden has asked US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams to resign.
Dr. Adams was due to complete his tenure as surgeon general in September, four years after he was sworn in.
Former President Donald Trump nominated Dr. Adams, who was Indiana’s health commissioner, to oversee the Public Health Service and its 6000 uniformed personnel, asking him to serve as the nation’s top doctor.
In April 2017, Trump had fired the previous surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, when he was midway through his term, according to Medscape Medical News.
After winning the election this fall, Biden nominated Dr. Murthy to return to the Surgeon General’s office.
On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration would likely name an acting surgeon general while awaiting Dr. Murthy’s confirmation.
Dr. Adams has not yet submitted a formal resignation, but he acknowledged that he was leaving the Surgeon General’s office in a statement on Facebook.
He wrote, “Thank you for the opportunity to serve this great Nation, as this has been the honor of my life.”
Dr. Adams was criticized early in the pandemic for telling Americans to stop buying facemasks.
In February 2020, he tweeted, “They [masks] are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if health care providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” His statement was widely criticized and has since been removed.
In April 2020, Dr. Adams said that wearing surgical-type cotton facemasks does not protect Americans from becoming infected, adding that it might put them more at risk, as they would be more likely to touch their faces, according to Reuters.
At the time, he also said that the recommendation might be changed one day.
In his recent statement on Facebook, Dr. Adams said, “I wasn’t always right — because no one was, and this virus continues to humble all of us — but I was always sincere in my efforts to speak to everyday Americans, and address the terrible health inequities this virus exposed.”
Dr. Adams also mentioned his accomplishments in the Facebook post, stating that he issued the first report on smoking cessation in 30 years in January 2020. He said that his office “also put out historic Surgeon General’s Calls to Action on Hypertension Control, Maternal Health, and Suicide Prevention.”
The surgeon general said those Calls to Action were reminders of “the other harms Americans face every day.”
“We mustn’t forget that diseases and health risks rarely impact all communities equally,” he continued. “That’s why these Calls to Action specifically mention the groups disparately impacted, and talk about the need to study and address aggravating factors like bias.”
Lastly, Dr. Adams thanked the US Commissioned Corps and the American people, especially “those of you who supported me and my family — my wife who is undergoing cancer treatment, my brother who is struggling to overcome addiction, my mother who suffered a stroke earlier this year, and my kids who sacrificed time with their dad so that he could serve this Nation.” The news was published in Medscape Medical News.