Influx in coronavirus cases among children ahead of back-to-school

Dr. Ashish Jha speaks to “GMA” about the recent report from the AAP and explains the ongoing debate about sending kids back to school amid the pandemic.
4:00 | 08/10/20

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Transcript for Influx in coronavirus cases among children ahead of back-to-school
Let's bring in Dr. Ashish jha, director of the Harvard global health institute. The American academy of pediatrics is saying 97,000 kids tested positive in the last two weeks of July and more than 330,000 American kids have tested positive so far. These happened while schools were either in lockdown or summer recess. What do those numbers tell you as we now are sending students into schools? Yeah, so good morning and thank you for having me on. Those numbers are a reminder kids are not immune. They do get infected. They obviously don't get as sick as adults do and that's really good news but it's a reminder we have to be careful as we think about schools an not turn this into a political issue but really think about what is it safe for them to go back to school and only when safe should we send kids back in. You said administrators should prioritize. Is that for educational reasons or medical reasons as you referred? Kids are less susceptible to getting less serious infection but what is their transmission rate to those at home? Schools can't run without adults and adults live at home. The best data we have younger kids transmit less. Not that they transmit zero but transmit less and there is very good data on educational reasons to get the younger kids back in. So for a variety of reasons all of us believe that kindergarten through fifth grade really should be a priority. We just heard from New York governor Andrew Cuomo allowing in-person learning here in the state of New York then leaving the decision individually up to administrators and parents. What should parents, what should administrators be thinking of and weighing when they make the decision about their individual schools. Yeah, this really does have to be individualized. When looking at that Georgia school where the case levels were so high there was no way to responsibly open them up. In New York what I would look for if I were a parent looking in New York, make sure there was a plan for all kids to have masks on, that there was a reasonable amount of distancing and look at simple things like can you open up the windows and could you hold classes outside? Anything that improves ventilation I think would make a very big difference and push for all of those factors before I made a final decision. We heard in Steve's piece that plea for plasma donations and that mother who said is it saved her son's life. What is the latest science on is it life saving? Yeah, it's -- this is something that I and a lot of other people have been enthusiastic about. Why think it's going to be really helpful. The science is being conducted right now. The clinical trials are and my hope is in the next couple of weeks we will have more data but we're not sure yet so waiting for the evidence to come in but hopeful this will turn out to be an important therapy. You interviewed Dr. Fauci who says there are steps to prevent a catastrophe when flu season combines with coronavirus. It's not a simple choice between lockdowns and openings. Some say we won't get it back under control unless we do a massive six-week lockdown. What are your thoughts on that. Yeah, I'm very much in line with Dr. Fauci's thinking on this which is if we have a targeted policy in the hot Zones, we really pull back on indoor gatherings and get everybody to wear masks, and make other policy changes across the nation, we can head into the fall in much, much better shape. If we ignore the basic public health stuff that we've all been talking about, it is going to be a hard fall and winter and may find ourselves looking at a lockdown. All would love to avoid that if possible. I think that is true. Thank you for being with us, we appreciate your time. We turn to the fallout over

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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