MSNBC medical correspondent Dr. John Torres told host Stephanie Ruhle on Monday that amid a huge spike in coronavirus cases nationwide, there was not much evidence that the virus was spreading in schools.
Many state and local leaders are considering whether to reimpose business closures and other restrictions as cases of the virus continue to rise, so Ruhle wondered whether more school shutdowns would be likely or needed.
“The science right now is showing that in-person schools, the virus doesn’t seem to be spreading that much. And here is a couple of things we know. Remember, early on, a few months ago, we were really worried schools would turn into superspreader centers. Children go back and start spreading it to their households and it caused a lot of issues. Well, that has not panned out,” Torres said.
Torres said that a Brown University study of 47 states showed an infection rate of only .1% among school students and .25% among teachers and other school staff. The study looked at 200,000 students and 63,000 staff members.
“Very, very low numbers”
These are very, very low numbers. And so what we’re seeing is the schools themselves don’t seem to be supercenters or even centers of spread of coronavirus, especially in the younger children,” Torres said.
In most cases, Torres said, when students do contract the virus, it is not from within the school environment.
Other studies done around school reopening have also shown a low risk of transmission for both students and staff, according to NPR. Studies in other countries have also shown low school transmission.
Most school districts conducting in-person instruction are enforcing social distancing in the building, and in many cases student are required to wear masks.
Cuomo wants schools kept open
In New York state where Governor Andrew Cuomo has imposed new restrictions to combat new spread of the coronavirus there, Cuomo is arguing for changing guidelines that would shut New York City schools back down when positivity reaches 3%, as previously agreed.
“At 3 percent the teachers, the parents, expect and agreed that the schools would close. What I’m saying is we’ve learned a lot since then and schools are actually the safe place,” Cuomo said Monday, during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“The infection rate in the schools is much lower than the rest of the city and the rest of the community,” he said. “Why not leave the children in the schools rather than have them run around the streets where the infection rate is five times as high?”
Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned parents to prepare for renewed closures as positivity rises in the city.