The US Surgeon General once warned against wearing face masks for the coronavirus but the CDC now recommends it

By Connor Perrett Mar 2, 2020, 12:04 PM

US officials including Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Vice President Mike Pence have urged people against buying and wearing masks to protect themselves from the new coronavirus.

In an interview on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” on Monday, Adams said wearing face masks could actually increase a person’s risk of contracting the coronavirus.

“You can increase your risk of getting it by wearing a mask if you are not a health care provider,” Adams said. “Folks who don’t know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus,” he added.

Adams’ comments Monday reiterate his blaring tweet from the weekend, urging people to “STOP BUYING MASKS.” He said that they were “NOT effective” to the general public and noted that the increased demand in masks puts medical professionals at risk.

The surgeon general’s comments over the past couple of days came after the US confirmed its second coronavirus death — a person in Washington state. At a Saturday press conference, Trump, Pence, and other administration officials spoke about the coronavirus threat after the first US patient had died, also in Washington state.

“The president mentioned masks,” Pence said at a press conference Saturday, the day the US had its first coronavirus death. “This morning we talked a great deal about additional medical supplies. Let me be very clear, and I’m sure the physicians who are up here will reflect this as well: The average American does not need to go out and buy a mask.”