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New Trump medical adviser: Risk of COVID-19 'extremely low' for kids, 'even less than seasonal flu'

'We know that the harms of locking out the children from school are enormous,' said Dr. Scott Atlas Wednesday at a back-to-school event hosted by President Trump.

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President Trump on August 11, 2020
President Trump on August 11, 2020
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Updated: August 12, 2020 - 5:27pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

As the coronavirus pandemic lingers into late summer and schools around the country grapple with how to best balance education with public health concerns, President Trump, who has been pushing for schools to reopen for in-person instruction, hosted an event on Wednesday afternoon called "Kids First: Getting America's Kids Back to School."

"One thing we've learned during this horror show of the China plague is that virtual is not as good as being there, that virtual is just not the same thing, and for a long time we've been hearing how great it would be," the president said during the White House event. "Well we've had the ultimate sample right? Namely, the whole country practically, and it's not as good." 

The president's new medical adviser Dr. Scott Atlas weighed the risks of schoolchildren spreading the virus against those of keeping schools shut.

"The risk of the disease is extremely low for children, even less than that of seasonal flu," said Atlas, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a member of the think tank's working group on health care policy. "We know that the harms of locking out the children from school are enormous. And we also know, as we all would agree, that educating America's children is right at the top of the list for our nation's priorities."

There have been more than 5.1 million coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 165,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

A Just the News poll with Scott Rasmussen found that by a margin of 45% to 29% registered voters think that in the event a school does not offer in-person education, parents should "be able to use public school funding to have their children attend a different school that offers in-person teaching."