Dr. Tom Inglesby: We Should Not Accept as Normal 800-900 Deaths a Day

By Melanie Arter | July 13, 2020 | 2:33pm EDT
Children in a pre-school class wear masks and sit at desks spaced apart as per coronavirus guidelines during summer school sessions in Monterey Park, California on July 9, 2020. - California Governor Gavin Newsom says the reopening of California schools for the coming school year will be based on safety and not pressure from President Donald Trump as California sets records for one-day increases in COVID-19 cases. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
Children in a pre-school class wear masks and sit at desks spaced apart as per coronavirus guidelines during summer school sessions in Monterey Park, California on July 9, 2020. -  (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Despite the recent spike in coronavirus infections, the number of COVID-19 deaths has gone down, but Dr. Tom Inglesby, director for the Center of Health Security at Johns Hopkins University, told “Fox News Sunday” that he doesn’t think “we should take any comfort in that number.”

“I don't think we should take any comfort in that number. It's wonderful that the number of deaths went down to into the 200 for a time, but we're now back to 800 to 900 deaths a day in the United States. If you compare that to the numbers in Europe, for example, Germany had six deaths yesterday,” Inglesby said.

“France had deaths in the teens in the last couple of days, and there are parts of the world where there are no deaths. Vietnam has had no deaths from coronavirus since the beginning. Thailand has had no deaths in six weeks,” he said.

“New Zealand has had very, very little mortality from this. So, it is not normal -- we should not accept as normal the 800 or 900 deaths that we have in this country. We can do better. We can actually make this disease much, much less serious in this country,” Inglesby said.

When asked what he thinks of President Donald Trump’s push to reopen schools fully and his complaint that CDC guidelines are too tough, too expensive, and too impractical,” Inglesby said.

“I do think that there are going to be many challenges to opening schools safely and just kind of asserting that just because they want to open safely doesn't make it so.

“It's going to be pretty difficult for many schools. States around the country have been preparing for this. So it's not like nothing has been going on to that effect, but there are still some uncertain ties about transmission in schools. As you said earlier, it's true that many schools have been opened successfully in different parts of the world, but in those places, most of those places, there was much less transmission than is going on now,” he said.

“Let me go back to the question that I asked Secretary DeVos. Where is the science here? What do we know about the risk of kids getting the illness and what do we know about the risk of kids spreading the illness?” host Chris Wallace asked.

“So, we do know that kids are at much lower risk of serious infections than adults, but not zero. There have been deaths in the United States of children, including tragically at death yesterday in South Carolina of a 5-year-old. So there are serious outcomes in children, but far, far less than adults,” Inglesby said.

“What's less clear is how efficiently kids will spread the virus in school both to each other and to teachers, adults, and parents. In some places in the world, it seems like that has been relatively uncommon, but there are examples such as in Israel in the last couple of months, there was a large outbreak in schools when they reopened,” he said.

“And so, I think there still is uncertainty that we're going to have to live with. We probably won't know all the answers when we started in the fall, but we'll have to watch very carefully and react to what we find,” Inglesby added.

He said issuing an ultimatum to reopen schools is “the wrong approach.”

“I think guiding schools and helping schools with financial support and encouraging schools to follow CDC guidance and state health department guidance is the right way to go,” Inglesby said.

“I think our incentives are all aligned in the sense that everyone really does want schools to open safely, but mandating it under a very tight timeline such as what happens in Florida this week where they're required to open schools five days a week in 30 days before the state has really even had a chance to review schools plans seems really like the wrong approach to me,” he said.

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