Terrified by the surging coronavirus caseload in the US, schools which waded boldly into in-person classes this fall are switching back to remote learning or planning to as the pandemic’s winter surge sets off alarm bells from coast to coast in the US.
Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association show that more than 74,000 cases among children and teens were recorded during the week ending November 5, a new record. From the time the pandemic landed in America back in January, there have been more than 9,00,000 Covid-19 pediatric cases in the US.
New York’s test positivity rate is almost at the three per cent threshold which the city Mayor has set as a benchmark for possible school closures.
Boston, Detroit, Indianapolis and Philadelphia are among those that are closing classrooms or dialling back plans to offer in-person classes.
The Chicago Mayor has gone ahead with a stay-at-home advisory. Illinois has seen more than 12,000 cases in the last 24 hours.
From most accounts, small, casual gatherings are driving up the case count – not inside schools but outside, after class hours. With Thanksgiving barely a week away, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling it the “big X factor” that will decide which way the pandemic turns.
Dr Anthony Fauci from the Trump task force said, “there is community spread right now and people don’t have symptoms, they don’t know they are infected.” He is advocating masks if people must gather during Thanksgiving and their virus status is unknown.
Doctors and nurses across the country are begging Americans to stay home and not travel during the upcoming week long holiday spell.
New infections per day in the US are going through the roof, hitting more than 1,53,000 on Thursday and pushing the total caseload to 10.6 million. More than 67,000 are hospitalised as of Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project.