Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Sunday the coronavirus pandemic could be “turned around in two to three weeks” if people would wear face coverings and practice social distancing.
In an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” Adams said the ability to change the course of the pandemic, without a vaccine yet in place, lies in doing “the right thing.”
“Together we can turn this around in two to three weeks if we can get a critical mass of people wearing face covering, practicing at least six feet of social distancing,” he said, adding: “We have the ability to turn this around very quickly if people do the right thing.”
He also said the nation is “ in a very different place than what we were in February,” assuring the nation is doing “much better to respond.”
“We do have a national testing strategy,” he added, but warned: “Don’t mistake that we’re happy with where we are. We’re working with states to respond to this very contagious disease… slowing the spread.”
Adams also said getting compliance with face coverings works better as a local directive rather than as a national mandate.
“If we just try to mandate it you have to have an enforcing mechanism,” he said, suggesting Americans will be more likely to wear masks "when we're not watching.”
He also defended his past advice that face masks don’t work for the general public.
"Once upon a time we prescribed cigarettes for asthmatics, and leeches and cocaine and heroine for people as medical treatments, when we learn better we do better,” he said.
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