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CDC Official: Closed Schools Pose Greater Public Health Risk for Kids

In public comments Thursday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said, “the reason I push it is that I truly believe it’s for the public health benefit of these kids.” The agency's final guidelines for reopening schools are still in flux after criticism from President Donald Trump.

ABC News: No Revisions To School Reopening Guidelines Despite Trump Demand, Just 'Additional Information': CDC Director  The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday struggled to say what federal guidance might look like for the nation’s schools to reopen this fall, after the president said the current advice was too tough, President Donald Trump asserted without evidence his political opponents wanted them to remain shut, and Vice President Mike Pence promised a new approach next week. After for months saying decisions about reopening should be left to states, Trump and his administration this week demanded schools reopen in the fall. "Open our schools," Trump said at the White House Thursday. "Stop this nonsense."(Phelps, 7/9)

Reuters: Closing Schools 'Greater Public Health Risk' Than Reopening, Says Top U.S. Health Official  Keeping schools closed in the coming academic year is a greater risk to children’s health than reopening them, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday. Redfield said the guidelines the CDC has given on operating schools during the pandemic are designed to facilitate their reopening, and he would be “disappointed” if they were used as a rationale to keep them closed. (O'Donnell, 7/9)

In other CDC news —

The Hill: House Chairman Asks CDC Director To Testify On Reopening Schools During Pandemic  House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) on Thursday asked Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield to testify before his panel later this month to discuss how schools can safely reopen this fall. Scott asked Redfield in a letter to testify before the panel's subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education on July 23 so that lawmakers could "engage directly with you concerning the CDC’s guidance to schools on how to safely reopen as the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic." (Marcos, 7/9)

The Washington Post: CDC Feels Pressure From Trump As Rift Grows Over Coronavirus Response As the country enters a frightening phase of the pandemic with new daily cases surpassing 57,000 on Thursday, the CDC, the nation’s top public health agency, is coming under intense pressure from President Trump and his allies, who are downplaying the dangers in a bid to revive the economy ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election. In a White House guided by the president’s instincts, rather than by evidence-based policy, the CDC finds itself forced constantly to backtrack or sidelined from pivotal decisions. (Sun and Dawsey, 7/9)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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