US Surgeon General Jerome Adams says the US can turn coronavirus around in '2 or 3 weeks if everyone does their part'

Win McNamee/Getty ImagesUS Surgeon General Jerome Adams at the White House last Tuesday.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams says the US could turn around its novel coronavirus infections in two to three weeks if “everyone does their part” by following official recommendations like social distancing and use of face coverings.

Adams appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, two days after the US recorded more than 65,000 COVID-19 infections, its most in a single day. Adams said that despite sharp rises in states across the country, if Americans follow guidelines en masse, the US could see near-immediate decreases in infections.

“So just as we’ve seen cases skyrocket, we can turn this thing around in two to three weeks if we can get a critical mass of people wearing face coverings, practicing at least 6 feet of social distancing, doing the things that we know are effective,” Adams said.

After the host Margaret Brennan pressed Adams on his previous warnings for Americans to avoid buying and wearing masks, he compared the advice he issued early in the coronavirus pandemic to doctors who previously “prescribed cigarettes for asthmatics and leeches and cocaine and heroin for people as medical treatments” before they learned more.

“I was saying that then because of everything we knew about coronaviruses before that point told us that people were not likely to spread when they were asymptomatic,” Adams said Sunday. “So the science at the time suggested that there was not a high degree of asymptomatic spread. We learned more.”

Adams added: “We follow the science and when we learn more, our recommendations change. But it’s hard when people are continuing to talk about things from three, four months ago.”

Adams shied away from announcing an official mask mandate, however. Federal guidelines recommend face coverings, but there has been no nationwide requirement, which Adams said could be seen as “over-policing.”

“We need people to understand why they’re doing it,” Adams told Brennan. “And we need people to understand how they benefit from it, because if we just try to mandate it, you have to have an enforcement mechanism.”

Several members of President Donald Trump’s administration made the rounds on Sunday talk shows to sound off on the state of the pandemic in the US, particularly as school districts across the US continue to grapple with plans for reopening in the coming months.

Adm. Brett Giroir, the White House’s coronavirus testing czar, appeared Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press” and ABC’s “This Week,” where he said that despite its major upticks, the US was in a “much better place than we were in April” with regard to the novel coronavirus.

“We are all very concerned about the rise in cases, no doubt about that,” Giroir said. “That’s why we’re meeting regularly – we’re surging in assistance – but we are in a much better place.”

“This is not out of control, but it requires a lot of effort, and everybody’s going to have to do their part,” Giroir said, echoing Adams.

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