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Surgeon General: Trump administration ‘trying to correct’ initial guidance on face masks

Jerome Adams says he and other officials were wrong in March

People wearing a face masks for protection against COVID-19 pass a business that has reopened in San Antonio, Thursday, May 14, 2020. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has warned officials in San Antonio, Austin and Dallas that the cities could face lawsuits if they do not relax coronavirus measures he says go further than state law allows. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
People wearing a face masks for protection against COVID-19 pass a business that has reopened in San Antonio, Thursday, May 14, 2020. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has warned officials in San Antonio, Austin and Dallas that the cities could face lawsuits if they do not relax coronavirus measures he says go further than state law allows. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Sunday the Trump administration is “trying to correct” its guidance from earlier in the coronavirus epidemic that wearing face coverings was not necessary.

With virus cases surging and many states and cities now issuing orders to wear masks in public, Adams said he and other administration officials were wrong back in March. But he insists they were going with the scientific knowledge at the time, which suggested that people with COVID-19 who showed no symptoms were not likely to spread the virus.

Adams said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “once upon a time, we prescribed cigarettes for asthmatics and leeches and cocaine and heroin for people as medical treatments. When we learned better, we do better.”

Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University, told “Fox News Sunday” that he would have liked to have seen administration officials wear masks sooner. He says it should not be viewed as a “personal choice” but a public health imperative.

Trump was seen wearing a mask in public for the first time Saturday during a visit to a military hospital.

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