Surgeon General offers 4th of July message: Wearing a mask means 'more freedom'

Surgeon General offers 4th of July message: Wearing a mask means 'more freedom'
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Surgeon General Jerome AdamsJerome AdamsThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden argues for legislative patience, urgent action amid crisis Biden to name nurse as acting surgeon general: report Judge drops case against former surgeon general over alleged virus restrictions violation MORE offered a Fourth of July message ahead of the holiday weekend, making the case that wearing a mask to Independence Day gatherings means “we will actually have more independence and more freedom” amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Adams told NBC host Craig Melvin on "Today" that the most important thing a person who may be going to a public gathering can do is wear a face mask or covering.

“As we talk about Fourth of July and independence, it’s important to understand that if we all wear these, we will actually have more independence and more freedom because more places will be able to stay open. We’ll have less spread of the disease,” the surgeon general said. 


Melvin asked Adams in the interview whether he would advise a loved one to attend either of the large gatherings that President Trump is set to host at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and in Washington, D.C. Masks will not be required at either event.

Adams responded that people should consider individual factors that could put them at risk, such as whether someone is older or has some chronic medical condition, like diabetes or high blood pressure.


He added that people should also consider their “circumstances” before attending a large gathering, such as whether COVID-19 cases are increasing in their community or whether they could practice social distancing at the event. 

“We know that large gatherings present the biggest risk right now,” Melvin responded, pressing the surgeon general on whether he would “advise someone to go to a large gathering, yes or no?” 

“It’s not a yes or no,” Adams said. “Every single person has to make up their own mind. There are going to be people on the beaches, going to barbecues, going to different environments, and they have to look at their individual risk.”

“As you mentioned, CDC says larger gatherings are a higher risk. You have to take that into account again with whether or not you’re at risk, whether you live with someone who is vulnerable, and then you have to take measures to stay safe,” Adams added.

Adams on Tuesday also implored Americans to wear masks, addressing some arguments that requiring face coverings is an infringement on personal freedoms.

"Wear a face covering when you go out in public. It is not an inconvenience. It is not a suppression of your freedom. It actually is a vehicle to achieve our goals," Adams said during a briefing with members of the White House coronavirus task force. 

"It adds to your convenience and your freedom because it allows us to open up more places, and it allows those places to stay open," he added. "This mask, this face covering, actually is an instrument of freedom for Americans if we all use it."

The U.S. on Thursday set a record for daily new coronavirus cases, reporting 55,220 cases and surpassing Wednesday’s record of 52,789. Both Florida and Georgia on Thursday also broke their statewide record for new reported cases.