Surgeon General Pleads With Fox News Viewers to Wear Masks: 'I'm Begging You'

Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a desperate plea to Fox News viewers Monday morning, urging them to wear facial coverings to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and reiterating that the government is "not trying to take away your freedoms."

The operational head of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps appeared on Fox & Friends with a simple message to all viewers: Please wear facial coverings. Adams concurred with fellow White House coronavirus task force members, like Dr. Deborah Birx, who have repeatedly said if every American wears a mask the pandemic could be nearly eradicated in just a few short weeks.

Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy said the surgeon general's message "seems pretty simple," but Adams said many Americans are still not on board.

"It is pretty simple, but again it relies on the individual people of America doing the right thing, and that's why I'm pleading with your viewers. I'm begging you: Please understand we are not trying to take away your freedoms when we say wear a face covering," Adams said. "We're not trying to take away your ability to go out when we say keep restaurant capacity under 50 percent. We're saying if we do these things we can actually open and stay open."

He went on: "It's about wearing face coverings, and it's again about maintaining that 6 feet of distancing. It's about making sure restaurants indoors are less than 50 percent capacity whenever possible," said Adams, who was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017. "We're doing this in total. And as Dr. Birx said, if we're doing all these things, we can significantly turn things around in the course of a matter of weeks."

"This whole administration is now supportive of masks." --U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, today, July 20th, 131 days into the pandemic

— The Recount (@therecount) July 20, 2020

The Fox News hosts briefly noted that Trump himself seems to have changed his opinion about wearing masks in public. Still, during an interview with Fox anchor Chris Wallace that aired Sunday, the president continued offering contradicting views on whether he supports facial coverings. Trump suggested at one point that "masks cause problems, too," before adding, "People should have a certain freedom" not to wear masks.

Speaking from the Health and Human Services Department offices in Washington, Adams reiterated that he and other public health leaders in the federal government are "all on the same page," despite reports the Trump administration is seeking to undermine the credibility of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Adams said the "disease course" is about two weeks, which means things can either get bad very quickly or they can get much better.

"We can get back to school, to worship, to jobs. We can do this and I'm a hopeless optimist, but I think Americans will do the right thing. And we're focused because of politics on who is not, but more people are wearing face coverings than ever were," he said.

Newsweek reached out to the surgeon general's office for additional remarks about facial coverings but did not hear back in time for publication.

Adams said the health department is sending federal teams to cities like Houston, Miami and Phoenix, where new coronavirus cases have spiked in recent weeks.

surgeon general jerome adams mask
Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a plea to Fox News viewers Monday, urging them to wear facial coverings to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Screenshot: Fox & Friends | YouTube