CDC Cowers To Trump, Will Issue New Guidelines To Open Schools

Little boy going to school with protective mask

After being assailed by Donald Trump on Twitter, the CDC is walking back their school reopening guidelines

Donald Trump is hellbent on schools reopening come fall, and he’s using social media bullying to get his way. Mere hours after the current POTUS attacked the Center for Disease Control’s current reopening guidelines, the health protection agency seemed to cave to Trump’s demands — despite surging coronavirus cases in some parts of the country.

During a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting at the Department of Education on Wednesday afternoon, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield emphasized the CDC’s guidelines were not intended as a “rationale to keep schools closed.”

To that end, explained Vice President Mike Pence, the C.D.C. will be softening their previous recommendations. “Well, the president said today, we just don’t want the guidance to be too tough,” Pence said. “That’s the reason why next week, the C.D.C. is going to be issuing a new set of tools, five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward.”

Clarified Dr. Redfield, “We are prepared to work with each school, each jurisdiction to help them use the different strategies that we proposed that help do this safely so they come up with the optimal strategy for those schools.”

The C.D.C.’s current guidelines encourage cloth face coverings, handwashing, staying home when sick, cleaning and disinfecting classrooms, providing adequate personal hygiene supplies, posting information signs in highly visible areas, minimizing shared objects, keeping doors and windows open to facilitate ventilation, staggered scheduling, utilizing distance learning when applicable, and more.

On Wednesday morning, Trump trashed the Centers for Disease Control’s suggested school reopening guidelines, tweeting, “I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them to be open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”

He went on to threaten the withholding of federal aid to schools that do not fully reopen this fall. “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 and families,” Trump’s Twitter tirade continued. “May cut off funding if not open!”

However, there are a number of caveats concerning Trump’s logic. According to experts, European countries like Germany reopened their schools only after getting the spread of coronavirus under control. On Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci — the U.S.’s top infectious disease expert — emphasized that the U.S. handle on the coronavirus outbreak is “really not good.”

As of Wednesday, the U.S. has nearly 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, with over 50,000 of those being confirmed in the last 24 hours. Forty-one jurisdictions report more than 10,000 cases of COVID-19. California, Florida, and New York City all have more than 200,000 confirmed cases.

According to Dr. Fauci, spikes in positive cases are likely linked to cities and states reopening too quickly. “A series of circumstances associated with various states and cities trying to open up in the sense of getting back to some form of normality has led to a situation where we now have record-breaking cases,” he told the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Fauci also cautioned against comparing the U.S. to Europe in regard to the pandemic. “The European Union as an entity, it went up and then came down to baseline. Now they’re having little blips, as you might expect, as they try to reopen,” he said, pointing out that the U.S. is still firmly in the first wave. “We went up, never came down to baseline, and now it’s surging back up. So it’s a serious situation that we have to address immediately.”