Former Surgeon General: Prepare for ‘More Mitigation Including Masks to Counteract Pace of Vaccinations’

People walk while wearing protective masks as New York City moves into Phase 3 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on July 14, 2020. Phase 3 permits the reopening of nail and tanning salons, tattoo parlors, spas and massages, dog runs and numerous other outdoor activities. …
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Jerome Adams, former Surgeon General under former President Donald Trump, said the U.S. should prepare for “more mitigation” strategies “including masks” to counteract the slow pace of vaccinations.

Adams warned of the delta variant on Sunday, and said it is crucial to “be honest” with people about its spread and the “consequences of stagnation in vaccinations.”

“Health officials do all they can to protect us and preserve hospital capacity, but if we can’t get more vaccinated, their next best tool is masking,” he said, adding that people need to begin to prepare for further mitigation strategies, which includes masking up yet again:

Adams made waves over the weekend after stating that both he and Dr. Anthony Fauci “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,” he continued, attributing his concerns to the rising delta variant.

“Instead of vax it OR mask it, the emerging data suggests CDC should be advising to vax it AND mask it in areas with cases and positivity- until we see numbers going back down again,” he continued.

“CDC was well intended, but the message was misinterpreted, premature, & wrong. Let’s fix it,” he added:

His suggestion comes as some localities begin to take matters into their own hands. Last week, Los Angeles County announced it would reinstitute its indoor mask mandate “regardless of vaccination status.” It went into effect over the weekend.

Notably, Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser on the Chinese coronavirus, wholly dismissed the efficacy of drugstore masks last year. In a February 2020 email to Sylvia Burwell, President of American University and former U.S. Health and Human Services secretary, Fauci explained that a typical drug store mask is “not really effective in keeping out virus.”

He said in the email (emphasis added):

Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infections. The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you. I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a vey [sic] low risk location. Your instincts are correct, money is best spent on medical countermeasures such as diagnostics and vaccines.

Fauci maintained that line of thinking in a 60 Minutes interview the following month, suggesting masks serve more as a talisman, having a psychological effect on people rather than fully protecting them from the actual virus.

“There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is,” he said at the time, warning of the “unintended consequences.”

“People keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face,” he added.

Fauci now, however, does not seem to take issue with Los Angeles County’s mask mandate, telling CBS Evening News, “There are situations where one might want to go the extra mile to get the extra degree of protection.”

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