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EXCLUSIVE 'Protect Those Most at Risk': US Surgeon General Stresses Preparedness Over Panic

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WASHINGTON – US Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CBN News Monday that his priority is to keep this outbreak in perspective, not worrying about over or underselling it. It's a serious global health threat but Dr. Adams says the White House is on top of it.

"We do know there are some high-risk groups and we want people to be aware if they are at high risk," Dr. Adams said. 

That includes seniors with underlying conditions like diabetes or heart & lung disease. 

A majority of the deaths in the US focused around a Washington State elder care center. 

"People over 60 are much more likely to have complications, have to be hospitalized, have to need medical attention and people over 80 are the ones who are dying at the highest rate from coronavirus," Dr. Adams noted.

In an exclusive interview, CBN News asked Dr. Adams if masks and hand sanitizers which are sold out at most stores work in preventing the spread of the virus.

"Masks are not effective in preventing the general public from getting the coronavirus. Most masks just protect other people from you, they don't protect you from them," Dr. Adams replied. 

Hand sanitizers do work, but not as effective as hand washing. 

Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

"I know you have a lot of questions," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.  

Health officials have been fielding questions and concerns after the virus past the point of containment. 

"You will likely see coronavirus cases in your community by the time this is all said and done but that doesn't mean that people have to be harmed, people have to die if we protect those who are most at risk," Dr. Adams explained. 

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) tweeted he was in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID19 and put himself in self-quarantine. 

"This afternoon, I was notified by CPAC that they discovered a photo of myself and the patient who has tested positive for #COVID19. While I am not experiencing any symptoms, I have decided to self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution," Collins wrote. 

The number of cases around the world has surpassed 110,000. 

This, as New York state, declares an emergency and calls for more testing. "Let the state tests, let's private lab test! Let's increase our testing capacity as quickly as possible," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY).

"We expect testing to go up tremendously over the next week. We went from several thousand tests last week to a million tests out there right now," said Dr. Adams. 

The Surgeon General is stressing preparedness over panic. That includes avoiding close contact with sick people, don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth and wash your hands frequently. 

Watch CBN News White House Correspondent Ben Kennedy's extended interview with US Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Tuesday's The 700 Club. Check local listings. 

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About The Author


Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning White House correspondent for CBN News in Washington, D.C. He has more than a decade of reporting experience covering breaking news nationwide. He's traveled cross country covering the President and scored exclusive interviews with lawmakers and White House officials. Kennedy spent seven years reporting for WPLG, the ABC affiliate in Miami, Florida. While there he reported live from Kingston, Jamaica, as Hurricane Matthew hit the island. He was the first journalist to interview Diana Nyad moments after her historic swim from Cuba to Key West. He reported