Wearing a mask during an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, he doubled down on his concern and said education on masks would benefit Americans.
“I am saying if we are going to have a mask mandate we need to understand that works best at the local and state level along with education. We need people to understand why they are doing it and we need people to understand how they benefit from it,” Adams said. “Because if we just try to mandate it you have to have an enforcement mechanism and we are in the midst of a moment when over-policing has caused many different individuals to be killed for very minor offenses and that is an important consideration.”
He continued, “As surgeon general, I want people to understand why they should wear a face covering and they are going to be more likely to do it and more likely to do it willingly and they’re going to be more likely to do it when we are not watching which is important.”
“We’re trying to correct that messaging, Margaret, but it’s very hard to do,” he said, adding that his previous comments that masks were not effective in preventing the spread of the virus was “because everything we knew about coronaviruses before that point told us that people were not likely to spread when they were asymptomatic.”
“The primary reason was because that’s what the science said and I want the American people to understand we follow the science and when we learn more our recommendations change, but it is hard when people are continuing to talk about things from three, four months ago,” he said.
Nicky Robertson contributed to this report.