White House task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx is agreeing with those who may be confused on why some schools have shut down in-person classes while places like restaurants and bars stay open.
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta noted during an interview with Birx that aired Friday that, based on surveillance testing, the New York City schools “has about a 0.17% positivity rate.”
He then asked, “Why would you shut down schools when they are 0.17% and the city’s 3% and keep restaurants and bars and other places like that open, even at limited capacity?”
She responded that “when we tell people that these masks prevent transmission — they’re not perfect — but when we tell them they prevent transmission and then we close the spaces where people are 100% masked and leave open the spaces where the people are unmasked, which we know is a transmission area, that’s confusing to the American people.”
“I understand why it’s confusing,” she continued, adding that she worries about that “because it gives people the option to say, ‘Well, bars and restaurants are open then I can have 20 people over for Thanksgiving.”
Watch Birx’s interview below:
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also weighed in on schools closing, such as New York City, during a CNN interview Thursday night.
He said that he believes officials should “try to keep the kids in school.”
After noting that there needs to be sensitivity for the teachers and families of those children attending the schools, Fauci said that he believes officials need to “keep the schools open if you possibly can.”
See Fauci’s comments below:
As Covid-19 cases continue to surge across the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci says officials should “keep the schools open.”— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) November 20, 2020
“Obviously, you want to be sensitive to the safety and the health of the children,” Fauci adds. https://t.co/3QZJCUIWLb pic.twitter.com/v2mW9sCnWF
New York City closed down in-person classes beginning this Thursday. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has indicated that indoor dining should be reassessed, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is the one who has that authority, according to The New York Times.
While schools have shut down the in-person classes in the city, restaurants and gyms remain open at a reduced capacity, as of Friday. However, de Blasio indicated on Thursday that it is “just a matter of time” before indoor dining and gyms close, which he says is “very likely to be in the next week or two.”
In Michigan, starting this week the state began a three-week ban on in-person classes for high schools and colleges. Additionally, indoor dining at restaurants is closed for those weeks. However, pools and gyms were allowed to stay open but with no group classes allowed.