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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Donald Trump took a victory lap on the economy after the monthly jobs report released earlier in the morning showed 4.8 million of the jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic returned in June.

"It's all coming back. It's coming back faster, bigger, and better than we ever thought possible," Trump said in a speech from the White House briefing room on Thursday morning. "These are the numbers. These are not numbers made up by me. These are numbers."


However, the unemployment rate remains at 11.1 percent — higher than it was at the peak of the Great Recession in 2008 — with 17.8 million Americans still out of work.

And economists say a deeper dive into the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows there is danger ahead for the economic recovery, and that Trump might be celebrating too soon.

"Of course we want to celebrate the good news that millions of workers are being recalled," Justin Wolfers, an economics professor at the University of Michigan, tweeted. "But as we look ahead, the question is what sort of economy we'll be left with when the mechanics of re-opening no longer boost monthly job gains."

Economists pointed to a grim number in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' report, which said, "The number of permanent job losers continued to rise, increasing by 588,000 to 2.9 million in June."

Those economists also pointed to the fact that the coronavirus is surging in states across the country, forcing governors to begin announcing more shutdowns to try and slow the spread.

"You cannot interpret this jobs report without thinking about the virus situation on June 12, the reference week of the survey. Cases were coming down, people were beginning to feel optimistic. That's not where we are now, we now face new closures and increasing fear," Betsey Stevenson, the former chief economist at the Department of Labor, tweeted.

But Trump ignored the warning signs, as he once again downplayed the virus.

"We have some areas where we're putting out flames from the fires, and that's working out well," Trump said — mischaracterizing the massive surge in cases, which set a single-day record increase on Wednesday when nearly 50,000 tests came back positive. That dwarfs the number of positive tests back in April, which looked like the peak of the virus.

Trump went on to say the latest job numbers will be good for his own reelection.

"You're going to have a fantastic third quarter, it will be a third quarter the likes of which nobody has ever seen before in my opinion," Trump said. "And the good thing is the numbers will be coming out just prior to the election so people will be able to see those numbers."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Poll: Most Parents Oppose Rapid School Reopening

Numerous local school systems around the country are plowing ahead with plans to resume in-person instruction despite growing evidence that children are just as capable of spreading the coronavirus as adults.

Classes were set to begin on Monday in Baker County, Florida. Masks for students will be optional, not required. "It looks like it's back to normal this morning, honestly," a local television reporter observed as parents dropped their kids off in the morning. Many students wore no face coverings.

The Trump administration and the GOP have pushed for full reopening of schools for months."Schools in our country should be opened ASAP," Donald Trump tweeted in May. "Much very good information now available."

"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" he reiterated on July 6.

"The science and data is clear: children can be safe in schools this fall, and they must be in school this fall," demanded Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Aug. 1.

"I believe our schools can, and should rise to the occasion of re-opening for in-person education this fall," agreed Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) two days later.

"The CDC and Academy of Pediatrics agree: We can safely get students back in classrooms," tweeted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last Tuesday.

But while Scalise, Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have all cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in their arguments for reopening, a new study by the group and the Children's Hospital Association raises red flags about how safe that will be.

Their report found 338,982 reported coronavirus cases in children as of July 30 in the United States. Between July 16 and July 30, the nation saw a 40% increase — 97,078 new infected children.

Last week, a high school student in an Atlanta suburb posted a photo online showing few students wearing masks in a crowded school hallway. Since that time, at least six students and three adult employees in the school have reportedly contracted the coronavirus, and the school temporarily has switched to online classes.

Another Georgia school district has already seen at least 13 students and staff members test positive since reopening a week ago.

A recent study in South Korea found that children aged ten and older spread the coronavirus at the same rates adults do. A separate study in Chicago suggested young kids might also be effective spreaders.

These contradict the false claims made by Trump and his administration that kids have an "amazing" near immunity to COVID-19.

"If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few. They've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

"You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system even than you have or I have," he told Barstool Sports on July 23. "It's amazing. You look at the percentage, it's a tiny percentage of one percent. And in that one case, I mean, I looked at a couple of cases. If you have diabetes, if you have, you know, problems with something, but the kids are in great shape." Children have made up nearly nine percent of all cases, even with schools mostly closed.

And DeVos incorrectly said in a July 16 interview, "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves."

In early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for how schools could operate more safely during the pandemic.

Trump publicly ridiculed the guidelines, dismissing them as "very tough & expensive" and "very impractical."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.