US surgeon general details spread of coronavirus and debate over masks

Dr. Jerome Adams discusses the spread over the next 30 days and general public wearing masks if the CDC changes its stance.
4:23 | 04/01/20

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Transcript for US surgeon general details spread of coronavirus and debate over masks
Joining us now from Washington is the U.S. Surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams. Thank you again for joining us. We appreciate your time and know how busy you are. Want to get your thoughts on some things because at first it was said 15 days was needed to slow the spread. Then the president extended it to the end of April. Many people are wondering what are the chances that's going to be enough, doctor? Well, the original 15 days was designed to slow the spread and for us to have time to reassess and we learned some good things and some bad things. The bad things that we learned are that there are places across the country, no place has been no state has been spared but when you look at Washington and California that aggressively mitigated and social distanced they were able to level and flatten their curves and so we're looking at this next 30 days as an opportunity for the entire country to really understand if we do the right things then we can flatten our curve in our own different areas and actually get to the other side. You ask is 30 days going to be enough? It will be for some places. It won't be for others depending where they are on the curve. The most important thing to know if you are aggressive about mitigation you can get through to the other side and usually in about three weeks or so to hit your peak and start to see cases come down. That is the hope. The debate about masks. I know about a month ago you weighed in at first and you were saying do not buy, do not wear masks if you're healthy and now the CDC and others are changing the recommendation, so where do you stand right now on people wearing masks that do not have symptoms? Well, thank you for the opportunity to clear the air on that, robin. Initially the CDC, the world health organization and my office recommended against the general public wearing masks based on the best available science at the time in terms of whether or not it prevented the wearer from catching coronavirus. Now, we've learned about this disease and always said we'll learn more and adjust and learned that there is a fair amount of asymptomatic spread and asked the CDC to take another look at whether or not having more people wear masks will prevent transmission of the disease to other people. But here's the most important thing, even if you do wear a mask it can't be at the expense of social distancing. We don't want people to think, hey, I'm going to wear a face covering so it's appropriate for me to go around other people. The most important thing to do is for people to stay at home and again the CDC is looking at whether or not we should be recommending more people wear masks when they go out. The final point I would make to people on masks is if you are going to wear a face covering when you go out, please understand you still don't need an n95 mask and if you take one of those, you may be taking it out of the hands of a health care worker who needs to it care for patients. Yeah, that's a good point and glad you made that. A final question, you were talking about how stay at home but you know that's not the case all across the country. There are some states that have not issued that like in Florida, do you believe that governors, more governors need to have stricter guidelines about staying at home? We want everyone to look at these 30 days to stop the spread guidelines including social distancing, staying six feet away from one another including limiting large governors and -- we feel we can trust the governors in many states and many have said we don't want to take chances and will ask people to shelter in place but the most important thing is regardless of how you do it in your state, you should encourage and enable as many people as possible to stay at home including providing them social support so that they can do the right things and that's why the bill that was passed last week was so incredibly important. We don't want people to feel like they'll lose their job or miss out on opportunities to be able to support their families because they're doing the right things. And they're thinking about that, it's April 1st. A lot of bills are due today. We're going to get through this, robin. We will and the good news is Washington, Italy as you all mentioned earlier, even in new York we're seeing acceleration slowdown. I feel confident we can get through to the other side if we cooperate and do our part together. Thank you, Dr. Adams. Appreciate that. Michael.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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