Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday claimed that the precipitous drop in support among parents for in-person schooling during the pandemic is the result of a "coordinated effort" to convince parents not to send their kids back to school.
The results of a Gallup poll released on Aug. 3 showed support for in-person schooling down to 36 percent, a drop of 20 percentage points from the previous month. The same poll showed an increase of 21 percentage points for remote learning.
Donald Trump and his administration have been pushing for schools to reopen despite advice from medical experts against it. Some schools that have opened have had to quickly close back down due to transmission of the virus among students.
From the Aug. 13 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
TRACE GALLAGHER, Fox News: It seems to me, and I want to put these Gallup polls up on the screen, it seems to me and to a lot of Americans that this push to get in-person learning is losing a little bit of steam. You see there from May 25 to June 8, 56 percent of the population said they wanted in-person, full-time school, and you move forward to July and now it's down to 36 percent.
So, the whole push seems to be losing steam. What does the administration think about that?
BETSY DeVOS: Well, we know that it's a coordinated effort and a campaign to continue to sow fear. And yet when you look at facts and when you look at the science, we know that the important thing for kids is to be able to get back into school, into their classrooms, back with their peers, back with their teachers, and learning in person.
And for most students this is the case.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet
On Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Ainsley Earhardt discussed the coronavirus crisis and the threat it poses to children on Monday morning with Dr. Natasha Kathuria, an emergency physician in Austin, Texas. Earhardt told Kathuria she had been under the impression that COVID-19 didn't pose a major threat to kids — and Kathuria schooled the Fox & Friends co-host on how dire a threat coronavirus can be when children are infected.
Noting a report that more than 97,000 children had tested positive for COVID-19 in the second half of July, Earhardt told Kathuria, "We're all worried about sending our kids back to school. What is that going to look like for our country, and for our elderly grandparents and things like that? 97,000 kids have tested positive. We all — that was such a shock to me, because I had heard kids really don't get it. If they do, they're all going to be OK."
Kathuria explained, "You know, that was just in two weeks — so about 100,000 new cases in pediatric kids just in two weeks. And I can guarantee you that number is actually much higher."
This is what happens when you get all your coronavirus information from Fox docs and Trump F&F Host Ainsley Earha… https://t.co/mcFPkRonNI— Lis Power (@Lis Power) 1597063828.0
The emergency doctor went on to explain that kids who have been infected with COVID-19 but aren't showing any symptoms can easily infect older Americans.
"We don't really test kids that often," Kathuria noted. "They're usually asymptomatic, they have very mild symptoms — but they're still shedding this virus. So, that is going to artificially be low no matter how good we are about testing right now. So, you know, that's what we're worried about right now, is sending these kids to schools and sending them home. And it's not the kids so much we're concerned about — obviously, we are — but it's their grandparents, their parents, when their parents then go to work, who they're spreading this to."
Earhardt asked Kathuria if children infected with COVID-19 are experiencing "minimal side effects" — to which the doctor responded, "So, that's the majority of them. The likelihood of death and the likelihood of critical illness is lower, but it's possible. I mean, a seven-year-old just died in Georgia, with no medical problems. We hear about this, and we see it all the time. Kids get sick, they get multi-system inflammatory syndrome from this. They can get ill from this; the likelihood is just lower. So, they're not immune to this. They definitely can fall ill."
Reprinted with permission from Alternet
President Donald Trump has been adamant in calling for schools to reopen in the fall, and many Republicans are afraid to publicly disagree with him. But journalist Erin Banco, in an article published by the Daily Beast on August 10, reports that some Trump aides — behind closed doors — are seriously worried about the risks of reopening schools at a time when so many new COVID-19 infections are being reported.
During a recent appearance on Fox News' morning show, Fox & Friends, Trump claimed that children were "virtually immune" to coronavirus — which is nonsense. Children are, in fact, susceptible to COVID-19 and can easily spread it to others even if they don't have any symptoms. And Trump said of the pandemic, "This thing's going away. It will go away like things go away."
A Trump senior official, presumably interviewed on condition of anonymity, is fearing that if schools reopen in the fall, not enough precautions will be taken. That official told the Beast, "If you have Trump going out there and saying everything is fine, there's a risk that that's what people are going to think going back. There's a real possibility that counties won't implement all the measures outlined in the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines and will just say, 'Look, we're doing the best we can, and that's it.' There's no one to enforce that stuff."
On Sunday, August 9, news broke that nine people had tested positive for COVID-19 at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia; days earlier, photos of crowded hallways in that school had been posted on social media. And a Trump senior official, discussing that school, told the Beast, "This is exactly what I was afraid of. This is inevitably going to happen when we send kids back to school, but the real question is whether school districts are prepared for this and whether they will take it seriously."
Another Trump official told the Beast that Trump isn't about to change his mind about schools reopening.
"So much emphasis has been put on supporting this idea of getting kids back to school that they aren't going to backpedal down," that official told the Beast.
Trump's aggressive push for schools to reopen comes at a time when Florida, California, Texas and other Sun Belt states are facing a brutal surge in coronavirus infections. Dr. Deborah Birx — who is part of Trump's coronavirus task force, along with Dr. Anthony Fauci — recently warned that the pandemic had entered a "new phase" in the United States and that counties with an increased community spread should not reopen their schools in the fall. Trump was furious, claiming that Birx was caving in to pressure from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On August 3, Trump tweeted, "So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics. In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!"
So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on… https://t.co/E0d5Oy4CIY— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1596462296.0
But the figures speak for themselves. As of early Monday morning, August 10, the COVID-19 death count — according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore — had reached 162,938 in the U.S. and 731,570 worldwide.
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