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Trump says children unlikely to catch coronavirus, unconcerned about reports of infections

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE on Monday doubled down on his assertion that children are "essentially immune" from COVID-19, despite increasing evidence that shows otherwise.

Trump downplayed a new report showing nearly 100,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of July and said he does not think it means schools should stay closed.

"There may be a case, a tiny, a tiny fraction of death, tiny fraction, and they get better very quickly," Trump said at a press briefing at the White House.

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"I think schools have to open. We want to get our economy going," Trump added. 

Trump and other administration officials are aggressively pushing for a resumption of in-person classes and argue children are at an extremely low risk of being infected.

"I think for the most part, [kids] don't get very sick, they don't catch it very easily, and ... they don't transfer it to other people, or certainly not very easily," Trump said.

However, health experts say the evidence is far from clear, and recent studies have found infections in children of all ages. 

Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics published Monday found that more than 97,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 during the last two weeks of July, more than a quarter of the total number of children diagnosed nationwide since March.

The increase in the number of infected children comes as the overall number of infections has climbed steeply in the months since states began reopening businesses. 

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The evidence is still mixed about whether children play a large role in spreading COVID-19 to adults, a crucial question for teachers and staff who would be around students for several hours a day at reopened schools. 

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detailed an outbreak at an overnight summer camp in Georgia and suggested children are susceptible to the virus and may spread it to others.

The report found that 260 children and staffers — out of the 344 tested — contracted the virus less than a week after spending time together without wearing masks.