California’s new regional stay-at-home order allows for schools that had already opened their campuses to keep them open — but how safe is in-person learning?
CapRadio PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols joins CapRadio’s Mike Hagerty to discuss school safety during the pandemic.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
On school safety research amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Public health experts told PolitiFact that the best evidence continues to show that COVID-19 poses less danger to children, though kids still can get infected and they can spread the virus.
PolitiFact spoke with Sara Johnson, who is a professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore. She said that children younger than 10 are far less likely to be infected by COVID-19 than older children and adults.
She also said those younger kids are less likely to transmit the virus to other people. Johnson cited three recent studies to back this up, including one from this fall.
On the lessons learned from California and nationwide schools returning to in-person learning
There are some common-sense findings at least so far: For example, the schools that reopened with public health mitigation measures in place — things like mask use, social distancing and ventilation — those schools have avoided significant spread of the virus.
Experts say those measures really need to be enforced for schools to prevent transmission. They said schools also have to be willing to close back down once levels of community spread begin to spike.
On President-elect Joe Biden’s comment on vaccination and what surveys show about American vaccine acceptance
Biden claimed in a recent interview on CNN that people have “lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work.” He added that the number of Americans willing to get a vaccine was “staggeringly low.”
Most polls show that between 50 to 70% of Americans are willing to get vaccinated. Biden does have a point here because those rates are not as high health experts would like to see in order to fully stop the coronavirus.
That skepticism is even higher among Black and Latino Americans who have been hit harder by the disease. Despite this, health experts said they aren’t despairing just yet. They said that history has shown that educational campaigns can boost confidence in new vaccines, making people more willing to get a shot.
PolitiFact rated his claim Half True.
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