The US Surgeon General said on Wednesday that 30 days of social distancing would be long enough to slow the spread of coronavirus in some places but n
The US Surgeon General said on Wednesday that 30 days of social distancing would be long enough to slow the spread of coronavirus in some places but not everywhere.
In an interview on Good Morning America, Surgeon General Jerome Adams also warned the public not to use precious N-95 surgical masks in light of an update by the CDC that everyone should wear a face covering when they go out.
‘The original 15 days was designed to slow the spread and for us to have some time to reassess.
‘We learned good and bad things. No state has been spared, but when you look at places like Washington and California that aggressively mitigated with social distancing, they were able to flatten their curve.
‘We’re looking at it as an opportunity for the entire country to say, if we do these things, we can flatten the curve.’
Surgeon General Jerome Adams appeared on Good Morning America on Wednesday to give advice on how long the guidelines would last; it will vary throughout the country
Asked if 30 days would be long enough, he replied: ‘It will be for some places. It won’t be for others, depending on where they are on their curve.’
In a different interview with Today, he said: ‘What we’ve always said is that everyone is on a different place in their curve.
‘Some places that leaned in early may relax their guidelines.’
‘In my opinion, in 30 days, we will still be telling the country in general that you still have to practice these measures but they may not have a shelter-in-place order.
‘We’ll go on the data,’ he said.
The CDC had originally said that only people who have symptoms should wear the masks when they go out.
Now, the government is weighing advising that everyone wears one, even if they don’t have symptoms, to avoid spreading the deadly virus which has already infected more than 189,000 people in the US and killed 4,000.
But Dr. Adams says it does not mean the public should rush to buy the coveted N-95 surgical grade masks that are in short supply around the nation’s hospitals.
‘Those must be reserved for the healthcare workers and the public can use other items to cover their faces.
‘We’ve learned about this disease. We’ve learned there’s a fair amount of asymptomatic spread and whether or not people wear masks will prevent transmission to other people.
‘But it can’t be at the expense of social distancing. The most important thing for people to do is to stay at home.
‘The final point I’d make is if you’re going to wear a face covering, you still don’t need an N-95 mask and if you take one, you may be taking it out of the hands of a healthcare worker who desperately needs it to treat patients,’ he said.
President Trump has suggested people should wear scarves to cover their faces when they go out.
‘You could get a mask, but most people have scarves and scarves are very good and they can use a scarf and we’re only talking about a limited period of time,’ he said on Tuesday night at a briefing.
People line up wearing masks waiting to be tested for the coronavirus at Elmhurst Hospital in New York City
Dr. Adams said it would vary where cities and states would be able to relax their guidelines depending on who experiences pandemic peak first. New York, where there are makeshift morgues in the street, is by far the worst hit in the country
Other doctors have explained the shift in advice; initially, they said only the sick needed the masks and that a healthy person did not.
Now, they are saying healthy people should wear them to stop them from spreading it to anyone more susceptible.
Dr. Adams said he encouraged local governors and mayors to take specific action to address the needs of their residents and to particularly encourage them to stay home.
‘What we want everyone to do is to look at these 30 days.
‘We trust the governors and mayors to understand their people and whether or not they can trust the people in their states to make the right decisions.
‘The most important thing, regardless of how you so it, you should encourage and enable as many people as possible to stay home.
‘We don’t want people to feel like they’re going to lose their job or miss out on an opportunity to support their family because they’re doing the right thing,’ he said.
Dr. Adams finished by reassuring the country ‘we are going to get through this’, adding: ‘The good news is that in Washington, Italy and even in New York, we’re seeing the acceleration slow down.
‘I feel confident we can get through to the other side if we all cooperate and do our part together.’
There are calls by some experts for a nationwide lockdown, with some saying it is the only way to stamp out the virus for good.
Dr. Joseph Fair, of Cure Finder, said on Today on Wednesday social distancing was ‘absolutely not’ being done properly.
‘Until all 50 states do it and do it at the same time, it’s kind of a moot point. That’s only going to happen if all 50 states are all saying the same thing,’ he said.
He is urging governors across the country to discuss working together to ensure the entire country is following the same rules.
‘I really urge the association of governors to get together; everybody get on the same page as far as what they’re going to do,’ he said.
He predicts that social distancing may have to happen for another 10 weeks yet.
Dr. Adams previously said that ‘no one’ thought the original 15 day guidelines would be long enough to make a dent in the rapid virus growth.