- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday said officials should make every effort possible to get kids back in school for in-person learning if the coronavirus infection rates in their region make it safe to do so.

“I think as a default position, we should try to the best of our ability to get the children back to school,” Dr. Fauci said, while saying the primary consideration should be the health and well-being of students and teachers.

Dr. Fauci told ABC News that a recent photo of a crowded school hallway in Georgia was “disturbing.”

“There should be universal wearing of masks,” said Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “There should be [to] the extent possible social distancing, avoiding crowds. Outdoors [is] always better than indoors and be in a situation where you continually have the capability of washing your hands and cleaning up with sanitizers.”

He acknowledged that decisions like mask-wearing in schools will be decided at a local level.

“I feel that universal wearing of masks is one of five or six things that are very important in preventing the upsurge of infection and in turning around the infections that we are seeing surge,” Dr. Fauci said.

There are more than 5 million coronavirus cases and more than 163,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S., according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has a population of 328 million.

The seven-day average of new cases has been trending down toward about 50,000 recently after daily cases had spiked to more than 70,000 on some days last month.

The number of daily recorded tests has also dropped to about 700,000 after spiking above 900,000 recently.

President Trump has consistently said that if the U.S. conducted fewer tests, there would be fewer recorded cases.

Dr. Fauci had previously said that an earlier “plateau” of about 20,000 cases per day was still unacceptably high.

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