U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Friday defended the Trump administration’s stance on not requiring masks at either of President Trump’s Fourth of July fireworks shows this weekend, while still urging the public to do so.
Dr. Adams argued that, while he supports local mask mandates, there is also a risk that comes with emphasizing compliance over education.
“If you make something mandatory, particularly for the younger age groups we’re talking about, many of them will rebel and do the exact opposite,” he told NBC News. “If people understand why they’re doing it they’re more likely to comply. If it’s mandatory, they’ll only do it if someone is watching.”
The emphasis on mask-wearing from health officials comes as several states have seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the past week as the economy began to lift lockdown orders.
Officials have said that younger demographics are less likely to die from COVID-19, but have accounted for a significant portion of the new surge in cases as local governments and economies have begun to reopen.
“If you want college football in the fall, young people, please wear a face covering,” Dr. Adams said.