Coronavirus cases continue to soar in the United States. While much of Europe and Asia seem to have the virus under control, the United States saw more than 77,000 new cases on Thursday. That's the highest number on record and tops the previous high of 67,791 from just two days ago.
As a result, many states are introducing mandatory face mask rules. Some, like Texas, have begun rolling back efforts to reopen the economy in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.
Despite all of this, President Donald Trump is insistent that school districts should reopen in the fall.
Trump took to Twitter last week and threatened to cut funding of school districts that refused to open.
"In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS," the president wrote. "The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!"
In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 8, 2020
The countries that President Trump mentioned in his tweet have all seen drastic falls in the number of coronavirus cases.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany doubled down on the president's comments on Thursday, saying that science should not “stand in the way” of schools reopening.
“The president has said unmistakably that he wants schools to open… And when he says open, he means open in full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school,” McEnany said, “The science should not stand in the way of this.”
McEnany said that “the science is on our side here” while again citing nations that had reopened schools.
McEnany: "The president has said unmistakably that he wants schools to open...When he says open, he means open and full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this." https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/sJEAJPg2Jy— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 16, 2020
While the risk to children is very low, experts are worried that children could spread coronavirus to elderly relatives who are more at risk from the disease.
According to the New York Times, an Italian study found that closing schools could reduce the surge of outbreaks by "about 40 to 60 percent and slow the epidemic’s course."
“My simulation shows that yes, if you reopen the schools, you’ll see a big increase in the reproduction number, which is exactly what you don’t want,” Marco Ajelli, a mathematical epidemiologist, explained.
A second study from Germany found that children harbor just as much of the virus as adults, and as such, are presumably just as infectious.
In the same press conference, McEnany took a shot at Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, calling her "derelict" in efforts to deal with crime in the city.
"The derelict mayor of Chicago should step up and ask for help because she's doing a very poor job of securing her streets," McEnany said.
Lightfoot responded on Twitter, writing: "Hey, Karen. Watch your mouth."