Health expert: school closures “shouldn’t even be on the table” despite omicron

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COVID-19 cases have increased nationwide amid the spread of the omicron variant, but the Dean of Brown University’s school of public health, Dr Ashish Jha, told “Fox News Sunday “That this was no excuse to close schools and force children to cross remote areas. learn again.

Host Mike Emanuel noted that, according to school tracker Burbio, more than 800 U.S. schools are now planning to close in January instead of bringing students back in person after winter break. Jha said it was a mistake.

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“It really shouldn’t be on the table, and I’m disappointed that it’s happening,” Jha said, noting that schools now have the tools to stay open. President Biden said on Tuesday that children are “as safe in schools as anywhere” if precautions are taken.

President Biden listens to a question as he speaks about the country’s fight against COVID-19 at the White House in Washington, December 21, 2021. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque
(Reuters)

“Schools should absolutely be the last place to close and the first to open,” he said, referring to the educational, emotional, social and mental health benefits of in-person learning.

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Jha acknowledged that if the pandemic caused staff shortages that made in-person learning a problem, it would be different, but it “really should be the only context” in which schools are closing.

As the omicron variant has plunged the country into a frenzy due to its rapid spread, Jha said he hopes and expects, like in South Africa, the omicron in the United States “to reach a peak rapidly and also begins to decline rapidly “.

People wait to be vaccinated by a member of the Western Cape Metro EMS at a mobile "Vaxi Taxi," an ambulance converted to a mobile COVID-19 vaccination site in Blackheath in Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.

People wait to be vaccinated by a member of the Western Cape Metro EMS in a mobile ‘Vaxi Taxi’, an ambulance converted to a mobile COVID-19 vaccination site in Blackheath in Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 .
(AP Photo / Nardus Engelbrecht)

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Still, Jha said he expects the CDC to change the definition of what it means to be fully vaccinated, and that a third shot will likely be needed to get that status.

“This is where the science leans,” he said.


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