People everywhere are eager to see the end of the coronavirus pandemic. As cases surge, the logical conclusion would be to put your damn masks back on, right? But as usual, some politicians are railing against the most basic of preventative measures despite condemnation from public health officials. On Tuesday, even the former surgeon general who served under Trump said banning mask mandates is "unconscionable."
Last week, Florida once again made headlines when its governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, threatened to withhold the salaries of school officials who defy his ban on mask mandates. During an interview with CBS This Morning, Jerome Adams, who served as surgeon general under former president Donald Trump, was asked how he felt about the governor's actions.
"As a physician, as a public health expert, it is deeply troubling that it seems we're letting politics get in the way of protecting our youth," Adams said. "As a father, I quite frankly think it's unconscionable. I really do."
"I think you can't tie the hands of school and public health officials based on what you perceive to be the reality, when your public health officials are telling you they need these tools," Adams continued.
He went on to say that he believes the coronavirus will continue to spread and require increased hospitalizations. Already, some states are once again struggling due to the Delta variant. On Monday, coronavirus hospitalizations in Alabama topped 2,000, and the Montgomery Advertiser reported that only 87 intensive care beds are available — the lowest number since Jan. 28.
"Fortunately, with higher vaccination rates, we're not going to see as many deaths as we could otherwise see, but it's going to be a really tough next couple of weeks," Adams said. "And parents, if your kids are over 12, please talk to your doctor or health provider and get your questions answered so you can get them vaccinated."
These words do signal a shift from Adams's messaging earlier in the pandemic. As outlined by USA Today, Adams, who resigned at the request of President Joe Biden, previously advocated against the general public buying masks. In a now-deleted tweet from Feb. 29, 2020, Adams wrote, "Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS. "They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can't get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!"
It was a message Adams repeated to CBS News' Margaret Brennan while appearing on Face the Nation last March, stating, "And stay safe by washing your hands, by covering your cough, by staying home if you're sick. Masks do not work for the general public and preventing them from getting coronavirus."
However, Adams doesn't seem to be like some other former members of Trump's administration *cough* Sarah Sanders *cough* who are trying to reinvent history or blame others for some of their past, questionable stances. While speaking with Brennan again in July, Adams said, "The science at the time suggested that there was not a high degree of asymptomatic spread. We learned more."
"We follow the science and when we learn more, our recommendations change," he added.