Surgeon General Jerome Adams hit with Covid-19 citation in Hawaii for flouting lockdown rules at closed park
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams is set to appear in a court in Hawaii later this month after he was slapped with a coronavirus citation during his visit to the island this summer. Adams, who is serving in office since September 2017, has been accused of flouting health and safety restrictions in Honolulu, where he was sent two months ago to help the state officials with their response to the pandemic outbreak.
Hawaii has seen 160 deaths from the virus while the toll has crossed 210,000 in the entire country. The local people have been protesting against the arrival of tourists at the island in the times of the pandemic, alleging that their visits were putting all at risk. A report in Axios confirmed on Tuesday, October 6, about Adams receiving the citation. Hawaii’s local Civil Beat reported last month that Honolulu Police have issued thousands of citations in the recent weeks, putting the local law system under stress. Several of those cases have also been dismissed. In August alone, the police department issued nearly 44,000 citations related to the city mayor’s pandemic rules and 65 people were arrested for the violations. The citations are about offenses that are punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $5,000 if proven guilty. Honolulu has a population of around 350,000.
The citation against Adams dated August 23 says: “Observed ADAMS in Kualoa Regional Park with two other males standing, looking at the view taking pictures,” Axios reported.
Adams said he didn't know parks were closed
It said Adams, a former Indian health commissioner, and others moved to the center of the park to click more pictures and the surgeon general put his mask on as he walked back towards their vehicle. It also cited Adams as saying that he did not know that the parks were closed. The 46-year-old top US official is set to appear in the court on Wednesday, October 21, and his case has been listed as active, as per the court site, Axios added. The official also shared photos of his visit to Hawaii on social media. However, according to the Beat, Adams joined local mayor Kirk Caldwell on August 25 to declare the shutdown of many responses to the growing outbreak on the island. The mayor said on that occasion that parks, beaches and trails will also be closed.
When it contacted Adams’s office on the matter, it refused to comment, Daily Mail reported. The case involving Adams adds to the allegations that officials of the Donald Trump administration have been less than successful in observing the coronavirus-prevention guidelines laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adams’s case surfaced at a time when President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and many people belonging to the president’s inner circle have tested positive for Covid-19. White House officials have been seen flouting social distancing at will and the president himself has been found denying that wearing masks makes any difference.
The administration has been urged by the opponents to reveal the number of White House staff members and guests who have been hit by the virus and to release a timeline for when Trump and some other key people were diagnosed. While the officials have said that they are in the process of contact tracing to slow down the spread, reports have suggested that the administration is less serious about the task.