President Trump on Wednesday blasted universities that have canceled in-person classes amid coronavirus outbreaks, saying the move could ultimately cost lives rather than saving them. Raising the issue at a White House press briefing, Trump said the virus is akin to the seasonal flu for college students and that students pose a greater safety threat at home with older family members than on college campuses. He cited no evidence to support either contention, and the White House did not respond to a request for information on what Trump based his remarks, the AP reports. “It’s significantly safer for students to live with other young people than to go home and spread the virus to older Americans," Trump said.
While older adults face greater risks from COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last month that otherwise healthy young adults can experience lingering symptoms for two to three weeks. Campuses face unique challenges in keeping students safe and responding to outbreaks, including providing adequate facilities for placing infected or possibly infected students in quarantine. Trump's comments follow recent suspensions of in-person instruction at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at the University of Notre Dame. Those schools' struggles have prompted some other colleges to backtrack on plans for on-campus classes.
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