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Fauci Says Decision on School Openings Should Be Left to Local Officials

Fauci Says Decision on School Openings Should Be Left to Local Officials
Fauci (AP)

Tuesday, 14 July 2020 05:22 PM

Top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Tuesday said decisions on whether to open schools in U.S. regions hit hard by the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak should be left to local officials.

"We should try, as the default, to get the kids to stay in school," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at an event hosted by Georgetown University.

"If you're in the part of a country where the dynamics of the outbreak are really minimal, if at all, then there's no problem at all in getting back. If you're in a situation where you're in outbreak mode, then you leave it up to the local individuals," he said.

Facing a battered economy as he seeks re-election in November, President Donald Trump has pressured states to reopen shuttered businesses and schools. Last week, he said the Treasury Department would re-examine schools’ tax-exempt status and their federal funding if they did not resume in-person classes.

It is not clear how Treasury could restrict funds. Most primary and secondary school funding is local.

With the new school year fast approaching, some U.S. districts have announced plans to reopen for students who want to attend in-person class, while others will offer only online instruction or a mix of classroom and remote learning.

The United States has reported record numbers of new coronavirus cases in recent days, with much of the surge coming from Texas, California, Florida and Arizona.

Fauci said he expects deaths to rise along with hospitalizations in those regions, but because the infections are affecting younger people than previous surges, the death rate should remain below the earlier peak.

"We will likely see some more deaths as people get hospitalized, but I doubt that it's going to go up to the extent that we've seen before," he said. 

Fauci's comments come amid frictions between him and the White House. Indeed, over the weekend, the White House and President Donald Trump himself tried to paint a poor picture of Fauci as the administration grapples with the pandemic, the economy, and Trump's reelection campaign.

A White House official told CNN on Saturday, "several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things."

The same official provided what was essentially opposition research on Fauci in the form of bullet points with examples of when the White House said he was wrong about the virus, particularly in the early days of the pandemic.

Senior officials within the Trump administration have told CNN that they do not trust Fauci, nor do they think he has the best interest of Trump in mind. Others told the network that Fauci is only worried about public health, nothing else.

The Trump administration has sought to downplay the threat of the virus despite the number of cases rapidly rising. There have been more than 40,000 cases every day since June 25. On Friday, a record 71,787 cases were confirmed.

Newsmax's Jason Devaney contributed to this report.

© 2020 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


   
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Top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Tuesday said decisions on whether to open schools in U.S. regions hit hard by the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak should be left to local officials."We should try, as the default, to get the kids to stay in school," Fauci,...
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2020-22-14
Tuesday, 14 July 2020 05:22 PM
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