INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — WISH-TV medical expert and former U.S. surgeon general Dr. Jerome Adams provided his thoughts on the latest developments surrounding COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Adams spoke with News 8’s Phil Sanchez about a variety of topics, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidelines regarding isolation, the effectiveness of cloth masks and what he wants to hear from state leaders at their news conference Wednesday.
He explained why he believes the CDC’s decision to reduce the suggested isolation time for people who contract COVID-19 from 10 days to five is misguided.
“I disagree because every doctor, every health professional I’ve talked to — including people within the CDC — say that if it were their family, they wouldn’t end isolation until they had a negative antigen test. That is really what what the science tells us is the best way to protect ourselves. Unfortunately, we know that there’s not enough tests out there to make that possible,” Adams said.
Adams says he’s concerned the new guidelines send a potentially dangerous message and will not be followed in their entirety.
“I’m worried now that they’re saying that the people who have isolated for five days can end isolation. But what most of America will hear is that ‘Hey, isolation is done for everybody.’ It doesn’t matter if you’ve got symptoms or not, it doesn’t matter if you wear a mask because the guidance also says that for the second five days, you should be wearing a mask around everyone else. And we haven’t had a great mask compliance thus far, so I don’t have a whole lot of confidence that people are going to wear a mask after the end isolation,” he said.
As for cloth masks, Adams stressed that any protection is better than none at all. The arrival of the omicron variant does does make medical masks more valuable though.
He says the investment is worthwhile.
“A cloth mask is better than nothing if you’re speaking closely with someone. But with omicron, it’s so much more contagious that you really do you want an N95, a KN95, a KF94, one of those higher-quality masks to give you the best protection. You can get them from Amazon, you can get them from Home Depot. They’re actually pretty easy to get in most places now and I have gotten them from my entire family, even smaller ones for my kids,” Adams said.
Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state leaders are set to provide an update on Indiana’s fight against COVID-19 on Wednesday afternoon.
One of the primary concerns Adams wants to be addressed at the news conference is testing availability.
“I’m hoping that Gov. Holcomb and [State Health Commissioner Kristina Box] will address what they’re gonna do going into the new year to make testing more available and to get more people vaccinated and boosted and to continue the outreach that’s going to be necessary to defeat the virus,” he said.
The news conference is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. It will be carried live on WISH-TV, online and in the WISH-TV app.