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Surgeon General: We Can Do One Big Thing for Schools

Lower the transmission rate by wearing masks
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2020 3:37 PM CDT

(Newser) – The surgeon general on Tuesday weighed in on the should-we-or-shouldn't-we debate over the reopening of schools. If we want to get students back into classrooms safely in the near future, everybody should be wearing masks now, Dr. Jerome Adams told CBS This Morning. "The biggest determinant of whether or not we can go back to school actually has little to do with the actual schools," he said. "It is your background transmission rate." Face coverings and social distancing are the best way to curb the rise of new infections, he added. "We know the risk is low to the actual students, but we know they can transmit to others." Adams also said he's happy President Trump is more pro-mask these days, per the Hill. (Back in February, Adams himself tried to discourage people from wearing masks, fearing a shortage among health workers.) Related:

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  • Labs slammed: More Americans are getting tested, and that's leading to a backlog in test results, reports CNN. One top commercial lab, Quest Diagnostics, says most people can expect to wait at least a week for results.
  • Sending a message: In Iowa, teachers are writing their own obituaries and sending them to Gov. Kim Reynolds to protest her push to get students back in school, reports KCCI. Reynolds signed a proclamation last week that requires students to spend at least 50% of their learning time in a physical classroom.
  • Vaccines? Execs from pharmaceutical companies told Congress Tuesday that if all goes well, the first vaccines could be out this fall, reports the Washington Post. “It’s a difficult question to answer in terms of probabilities,” said Mene Pangalos of AstraZeneca, which is working on this vaccine. “If we have efficacy data, we hope it will happen anytime from September onward.” Stephen Hoge of Moderna pegged it at "fall or toward the end of the year." Moderna is working on this one.
(Read more Surgeon General stories.)

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