Trump says he can’t assure school safety amid pandemic: ‘Can you assure anybody of anything?’
President Trump, who has pressed for schools to open this fall despite the coronavirus pandemic, said Thursday that he couldn’t offer assurances that holding in-person classes would be safe.
“Can you assure anybody of anything?” Trump said in response to a question about how he could assure people that schools can safely be reopened.
At the same time, Trump falsely claimed that young people are “almost immune” to the virus.
“I do say again, young people are almost immune to this disease. The younger the better,” he said during a White House briefing with reporters. “They’re stronger they have a stronger immune system.”
Children can get COVID-19, though the evidence so far suggests they are less likely to experience severe illness or death compared to adults.
About 340 children have been diagnosed with a serious inflammatory condition that is thought to be caused by COVID-19, but most eventually recover.
Most children who get COVID-19 experience mild symptoms, like fever and cough, or no symptoms at all.
Still, evidence is mixed about whether children are less likely to get infected when exposed to the virus. There is also not enough evidence yet to determine what role children play in spreading the virus to each other and to adults, a question that looms large over school openings as teachers, staff and others would be exposed to children for several hours a day. Critics of the plan also point out that children who become infected in school can expose family members to the virus.
It is thought that older children, between the ages of 10 to 19, can spread the virus to adults as well as other adults can, Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, said Wednesday on MSNBC.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommend schools reopen in some capacity in the fall, citing the harmful effects of missing in-person instruction.
Reopening schools also holds the added benefit of helping parents get back to work, providing Trump a much needed boost to the economy.
However, some public health experts note it will be more difficult to safely reopen schools in areas of the country with large COVID-19 outbreaks.
“In the hot zones, you have to take that on a case by case basis, and make a decision based on the welfare of the kids, as well as the feasibility of being able to open up,” Fauci said Wednesday on MSNBC.
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