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CDC head: 'I think we need a lot more resources in order to get the schools safe'
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said on Sunday that despite new guidance from the agency for reopening schools, "I think we need a lot more resources in order to get the schools safe."
"One of the things that's really been emphasized in the school reopening is how unsafe some of our school ventilations are," Walensky said on "Fox News Sunday."
In addition to worsening the risk of coronavirus, she said, "that's a problem for other respiratory viruses, for children with asthma, for exposure to mold ... there's a lot of work we need to do in order to get our schools to a safer environment."
Asked by NBC's Chuck Todd whether schools would have flexibility in implementing the guidance, particularly with regard to physical distancing, Walensky said during an appearance on "Meet the Press" that the guidance was "dependent on how much disease is in the community."
"We know that most of the disease that comes into the school comes into the community. And with universal mask wearing, we know that there's very limited transmission within the schools, and that that transmission is largely from staff to staff and largely when those masks are, mask wearing is breached," she said.
"So, we are more flexible with the six feet if there's limited amount of community spread in those low to moderate ranges. When you get to substantial and high ranges of community spread, we really feel like you need six feet," she said.
Fox News host Chris Wallace also asked the CDC head at what point she anticipated vaccines being available to anyone who wanted one.
"We anticipate by the end of March we'll have 200 million vaccines available, we anticipate by the end of March we'll have enough vaccine in order to vaccinate the entire U.S. population that is eligible," she replied.
Asked if "by the end of the year you and I will be able to walk down the street without a mask," she said the answer "very much would depend on how we behave right now."
"If we have another surge because we're not taking the proper mitigation strategies, I think it would be foolish for me to project," she said.