Former surgeon general: 'Unconscionable' for states to ban mask mandates

Former surgeon general: 'Unconscionable' for states to ban mask mandates
© Greg Nash

Former Surgeon General Jerome AdamsJerome AdamsFormer surgeon general: 'Unconscionable' for states to ban mask mandates Former Trump surgeon general says politicians are 'taking tools' away from public health offices Pence urges young conservatives to get COVID-19 vaccine MORE says it is “unconscionable” that states such as Texas and Florida are banning local mask mandates.

During an interview with “CBS This Morning,” Adams, who served under former President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE, was asked about his thoughts on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisDeSantis's new surgeon general opposes vaccine mandates People close to Trump say he 'wants back' in national spotlight: report Poll: Trump dominates 2024 Republican primary field MORE (R) threatening to withhold the salaries of school officials who defy his ban on mask mandates.

“As a physician, as a public health expert, it is deeply troubling that it seems we're letting politics get in the way of protecting our youth. As a father, I quite frankly think it's unconscionable. I really do,” Adams said.

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“I think you can't tie the hands of school of public health officials, based on what you perceive to be the reality when your public health officials are telling you they need these tools,” he continued.

The comments come as some school districts in GOP-controlled states are working to secure safe in-person learning amid orders barring their ability to impose masks mandates.

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In Florida, two districts are refusing to allow parents to opt out of having their children wear masks in schools, and legal challenges have already been filed on behalf of parents challenging DeSantis’s order.

A similar situation is occurring in Texas, where the Dallas and Austin public school systems are requiring masks be worn, despite an order from Gov. Greg Abbott (R) preventing such mandates. 

Adams told CBS News that the next couple of weeks will be “really tough” and advised parents of kids over the age of 12 to look into having their children vaccinated.

“You can consider wearing a KN95 or N95 mask because they're available now. And keep an eye on the numbers in your area — the COVID numbers — so that you can make an informed decision. Even if the politicians out there are telling you that they won't let it be mandated,” he said.