Transcript for Latest updates on COVID-19: July 15, 2020
Some of the major developments we're tracking -- now more than 3.4 million diagnosed covid cases nationwide, with deaths here in the U.S. Rising to more than 136,000, with more than 41 million here tested. With me now is ABC chief medical correspondent, Dr. Jen Ashton. On the minds of so many, will schools reopen in next month or two? And with that, we're learning more about how this virus behaves in children. What did we learn? First of all, we have to start with this unique location and population and talk about what we know thus far. First of all, in terms of environment, we know that viral infections spread very easily in densely crowded environments like most school settings. Limited published data how sars/cov2 behaves in this setting. We need that information. We also know the pediatric age group in general is at low risk of severe covid-19. That doesn't mean zero risk. We also know that the school staff, the relative of students, by definition of being older, because of age, they may have pre-existing medical conditions, that's a factor. And just released from the CDC that masks absolutely help prevent the spread of this virus in close settings, that's data that comes out of Missouri, hairstylists. If we reopen we think that mask would be integral, in the great part of this. Within this student age group, new data suggesting that different ages are affected differently by the virus. Exactly, and that was just put out in the last couple of days. Interestingly, younger children, 0 to 10, actually are not that susceptible to infection although they can definitely spread it. Teenagers, let's say 10 to 20, much more likely to be infected. We're thinking that children at different ages can have different immune reactions to this virus. Again, not one size fits all. The decision to reopen schools has to based on what modifications can be made. Whether remotely, in-person, or a combination, it really needs a tailored approach based on the age, type of school, where it's located and try to figure out some solutions. What do we still have to learn? We don't have a lot of time. Exactly, and one of the most important things that we don't know yet is what the role of testing will be in helping schools reopen, whether that's pool testing or individual testing, we don't know yet if parents and teachers will feel safe and comfortable with the virus circulating right now. We have to balance the risk of not reopening schools. What's really important here is to ask the question, what's the endpoint? If it's just delaying to January, things may not look measurably better in January, they could be a little worse and so we have to figure out how to live with this virus. All right, Dr. Jen, thank you so much.
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