The White House press secretary has revived Donald Trump’s calls for schools to reopen, saying “the science should not stand in the way of this”.
Echoing the president’s push for pupils to return to classrooms, Kayleigh McEnany said “we don’t think children should be locked up at home, with devastating consequences”.
“You know, the president has said unmistakably that he wants schools to open, and I was just in the Oval talking to him about that, and when he says open, he means open in full – kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this.”
She claimed “many medical experts” had said it was safe for children to attend schools, before later adding: “The science is on our side here, and we encourage localities and states to just simply follow the science.”
Ms McEnany also said a study had indicated that the risk to children from COVID-19 was “far less” than that from seasonal flu.
Four in 10 parents said they would probably keep their children at home if classes resume, the Reuters/Ipsos survey indicates.
The July 14-15 national online poll was conducted as the US’s 13,000 school districts grappled with how to safely resume instruction after closing in the spring as infections spread.
Only 26% of American adults said they thought it was safe for schools in their community to bring students back, while 55% felt they were not safe, and 19% were not sure.
New coronavirus infections are now climbing in 40 states, while 22 states have either paused or reversed efforts to reopen their economies, according to Bank of America.
Florida reported a single-day record of 156 deaths, along with nearly 14,000 new cases, reflecting a broader trend this week that has seen the national death rate spike.
The seven-day rolling average for new deaths has risen to 730, up more than 21% from a week ago.