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Dr. Jerome Adams on masks for public transportation, Test to Treat program

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Dr. Jerome Adams, the News 8 medical expert who is a former U.S. surgeon general, said Thursday he’s OK with an extension of mask requirements on public transportation because of the varying rates of the coronavirus across the nation.

“You also have spring break coming up and people are going to be going in and out of the country to places that have higher rates of spread, so it’s a good idea to give us about 30 more days.

“But the cases continue to come down and we need to continue to encourage people to get vaccinated because when those masks come off, when you’re sitting next to someone on a plane or a bus, you literally have no protection if you’re unvaccinated and unmasked.”

Adams also talked Thursday about the national plan for at-home COVID testing, and for pharmacies to provide COVID-19 tests and medicines.

“Well, it’s clearly not working the way it’s supposed to. You hear story after story: a person who test positive but is having real struggles getting the medication. The new Test to Treat plan still hasn’t been implemented yet. Pharmacies have ordered medications but they still aren’t actually in the pharmacies yet.”

“I’m hopeful that this gets rolled out in a way that allows people equitable access to treatment. It’s one more missing piece as we look to transition forward. We want people if they do get get sick to be able to get treated so they don’t end up in the hospital.”

The neurological effects of COVID were also discussed in Thursday’s interview with News 8.

“Well, an important study that came out of England, where they tested people prior to being infected and then tested them again five months later, they did neurologic tests and found that those who tested positive for COVID took significantly greater time to complete the test. They also looked at brain imaging and found that the brain before and after COVID showed a decrease in gray matter, particularly in the areas related to smell into memory.

“So the take-home point here for people is it is not inconsequential for you to get COVID even if you are asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic. That’s why I continue to tell people get your shot, get your booster. It’s gonna lower the chance you get infected and it may decrease your chances of having long COVID and actual brain issues down the road.”