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CDC director says masks are key for reopening of schools

Getting children back to in-person learning is important for their social well-being -- but the key to reopening classrooms during the...

Posted: Jul 14, 2020 7:23 AM
Updated: Jul 14, 2020 9:45 PM

Getting children back to in-person learning is important for their social well-being -- but the key to reopening classrooms during the coronavirus pandemic is masks, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

Dr. Robert Redfield, speaking during a Buck Institute webinar, said everyone should work together to find common ground for reopening in a way that is safe and comfortable with people. He said the CDC is presenting options for school systems, and will release some additional resources this week on how to reopen schools.

One of the resources will look at 'how to really take advantage of face coverings,' Redfield said. 'Because to me, face coverings are the key. If you really look at it, the data is really clear, they work.'

Some students, he said, will need home schooling because of medical issues, but the goal is to have face-to-face interaction five days a week.

The CDC is especially concerned about the well-being of high school students, Redfield said.

'We're seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from Covid,' he said. 'We're seeing far greater deaths from drug overdose, that are above excess, than we had as background, than we are seeing deaths from Covid.'

Most US parents say it would be risky to send their children back to school in the fall, according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The poll showed 82% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans say returning to school would be very or moderately risky. Eighty-nine percent of Black parents saw returning to school as a large or moderate risk, compared with 80% of Hispanic parents and 64% of White parents.

More teachers and administrators have voiced their opposition to returning to in-class instruction. And more districts across the country have announced they'll go virtual, or at least give parents more options.

The nation's largest school districts unveiled their plans for fall on Monday.

In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio offered options for partial in-person instruction. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday in order for in-person class to be allowed, a region must be in Phase 4 of reopening, which New York City is not.

In Los Angeles, students will learn at home this fall, the school district said.

More than 3.4 million people have now tested positive for coronavirus -- but the true number of infections could be much higher, experts have said, as at least 40% of those who contract the virus show no symptoms, according to a new estimate by the CDC. More than 136,000 people in the United States have died from Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

These are the states with mask mandates

Covid may approach magnitude of 1918 pandemic, Fauci says

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that Covid-19 is a 'pandemic of historic proportions.'

'I think we can't deny that fact,' Fauci said during a Georgetown University Global Health Initiative webinar. 'If you look at the magnitude of the 1918 pandemic where anywhere from 50 to 75 to 100 million people globally died, that was the mother of all pandemics and truly historic. I hope we don't even approach that with this, but it does have the makings of, the possibility of ... approaching that in seriousness.'

Fauci added that he hopes the medicinal interventions that are in trials will one day help prevent such a disaster.

Redfield said in a webinar with the Journal of the American Medical Association that without a biological countermeasure, such as a vaccine, 'we're going to have to go through two or three years of wrestling with this virus.'

He had more immediate worry.

'I do think the fall and the winter of 2020 and 2021 are going to be the probably one of the most difficult times that we experienced in American public health,' he said.

It will be really important to keep the health system from being overstretched, Redfield said.

Startling numbers continue

Across the United States, several states and counties again reported record numbers.

Los Angeles County, where more than 10 million people live, reported its highest record of new cases and hospitalizations in a single day with 4,244 new cases and 2,103 people currently hospitalized, the county's public health department announced in a news release.

The county also reported 73 deaths, one of the highest number of new fatalities reported in a day.

'Today's numbers are alarming and unfortunately are the result of many businesses and individuals not adhering to the basic public health requirements of distancing and wearing face coverings,' county health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said. Ferrer also reminded people of the importance of washing their hands.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves called for citizens in his state to wear masks, saying Monday on Facebook: 'Wearing one is the right thing to do. Don't mock it. And attacking those who don't only hardens their resistance. ... Our enemy is the virus - NOT EACH OTHER!'

Reeves on Tuesday said hospitalizations are soaring, and a record 805 people are Covid-19 patients at medical facilities.

Texas announced 10,745 cases Tuesday, just the third time it had more than 10,000 new reported cases in a single day.

You asked, we're answering: Your top Covid-19 questions

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 154942

Reported Deaths: 2660
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
Elmore314852
St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 237907

Reported Deaths: 3011
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby34892558
Davidson30302330
Knox1217488
Hamilton11368105
Rutherford11274110
Williamson680255
Sumner5788108
Wilson451455
Putnam425754
Montgomery398851
Out of TN382836
Unassigned38224
Madison369679
Bradley347923
Sullivan339546
Sevier324121
Washington324146
Blount319132
Maury313937
Robertson253741
Hamblen237943
Tipton226022
Dyer209627
Gibson208238
Hardeman182132
Coffee179920
Trousdale17517
Obion167820
Greene161851
Bedford161720
Anderson161114
Fayette160522
Dickson160419
Wayne15697
Loudon156610
McMinn156433
Cumberland156124
Lawrence152618
Jefferson149220
Weakley146725
Carter146532
Monroe139528
Warren138710
Henderson137925
Lauderdale136717
Hardin135219
Macon128625
Franklin124416
Roane12237
Haywood121027
Overton116512
Hawkins114224
White113314
Johnson11177
Carroll110525
McNairy109926
Marshall10859
Rhea106316
Cheatham100011
Bledsoe9994
Lake9753
Cocke96612
Smith96212
Giles92134
Campbell9118
Fentress8778
Lincoln8363
Crockett80320
Henry75610
Hickman75113
Marion7249
Chester71514
DeKalb69017
Decatur64811
Grainger5514
Grundy53511
Union5173
Claiborne5086
Polk48313
Jackson4345
Humphreys4244
Morgan4227
Houston39915
Benton3979
Cannon3962
Unicoi3842
Clay38314
Lewis3602
Scott3514
Sequatchie3294
Stewart3128
Meigs3005
Perry2611
Moore2542
Pickett2527
Van Buren1971
Hancock1133

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