CDC director: Schoolchild mortality risk from COVID-19 is 'one in a million'

'It is important to try to be factual as we go through this,' he said.

Updated: July 30, 2020 - 11:54am

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The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the risk of a school-aged child dying from COVID-19 is "one in a million," amid a fierce debate about whether, and how, to reopen schools in September. 

CDC Director Robert Redfield earlier this month appeared on a COVID-19 webinar for the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, a biomedical corporation in Novato, California.

Redfield, who stressed that the country is "still in the midst" of the COVID-19 pandemic, nevertheless expressed marked optimism at the relative lack of danger the disease poses to children. 

Asked by host Kris Rebillot about "the risk inherent in opening schools," Redfield claimed that "the greater risk is actually to the nation to keep these schools closed," with the public health official arguing that schools offer myriad important services without which many children will suffer. 

Redfield said an overview of the data since the beginning of the pandemic indicates that the risk of COVID-19 mortality for school-aged children is "about .1 per 100,000."

"So another way to say that, it’s one in a million," he said, according a review of a transcript and video by Just the News of the webinar. 

"Now, I’m not trying to belittle that," he also said. "I’m just trying to make sure we look at it proportional. Because if you do the same thing for influenza deaths for school-age children over the last five years, they’re anywhere from five to 10 times greater."

Redfield said that schools should be open with certain restrictions and rules in place, including "wearing a mask, washing your hands, [and] maintaining social distancing."

He argued further that, though he believes schools should be re-opened, he thinks bars should be shut down. 

"I don’t see why we’re opening bars that allow people to over-consume alcohol until the wee hours of the morning when I’m trying to get people to social distance," he said at one point. 

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