President Donald Trump publicly disagreed with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top public health expert on the White House coronavirus task force, after Fauci endorsed a cautious approach to reopening schools in the fall, CNN reported.
"It's just — to me it's just not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools," Trump said Wednesday.
What's the story?
During his testimony before a Senate committee on Tuesday, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responded to a question from Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) about how he would advise a college chancellor or school principal to persuade students or parents to return to school in August. Alexander specifically asked Fauci to respond with a focus on treatments and vaccines.
"I would tell her that in this case, that the idea of having treatments available, or a vaccination, to facilitate the reentry of students into the fall term would be something that would be a bit of a bridge too far," Fauci responded.
Fauci said that so far, even the most promising potential treatments for COVID-19 have shown only "modest" results, and even then only in hospitalized patients. He said the most likely available treatment for students by August would be "passive transfer of convalescent serum."
"But we're really not talking about treating a student who gets ill, but how the student will feel safe in going back to school," Fauci continued. "If this was a situation where we had a vaccine, that would be the end of that issue, in a positive way. But as I mentioned in my opening remarks, even at the top speed we're going, we don't see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get back to school this term. What they really want is to know that they are safe. And that's the question that will have to be due with what we discussed earlier about testing."
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Fauci also said that, since there is much still unknown about the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, "we really better be pretty careful, particularly when it comes to children."
Trump's response: President Trump was asked Wednesday about Fauci's comments during a meeting with governors. Trump said Fauci "wants to play all sides of the equation, and seemed to guarantee that schools would reopen in the fall one way or another.
"We're opening our country," Trump said. "People want it open. The schools are going to be open."