France has 180,933 confirmed cases of coronavirus. After a lockdown, the French government has begun easing back to “normal.” This includes sending children back to school. One week later, 70 new cases have cropped up across classrooms, prompting some schools to once again close.
Britain plans to restart some schools on June 1, though Cambridge University will continue its curriculum online. Authorities there will closely monitor for new cases.
Iran was devastated with over 124,000 COVID-19 cases, and has now begun to ease restrictions. But cases are spiking in eight provinces across their nation.
The southeastern province of Khuzestan, home to the country’s oil and petrochemical industries, reported a 300 percent increase in new cases since the province re-opened in late April, according to its governor. On Friday, Khuzestan locked down 16 of its cities at least until Monday. Local health officials said Sunday that 715 people had tested positive for coronavirus in the previous 24 hours.Iran Sees New Surge in Virus Cases After Reopening Country, The New York Times, May 18, 2020
The U.S. is really a collection of 50 states, which in Europe would be nations. As we open up, especially after school summer break, we can expect to see these kinds of spikes.
We won’t have an effective vaccine by August or September, and many school districts are planning to open. We need to get kids back to school. Not just for educational and social purposes, but to free up their parents to return to work. As the French education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, said Monday: ““The consequences of not going back to school are much more serious.”
When we begin to open up schools, we will see what France and Iran are seeing. We shouldn’t panic or set our hair on fire when we do. It’s troubling that in the face of a virus we know can spread, with outbreaks here and there when we begin to open up, our media is more focused on spinning the stories to influence the election in November.
What’s troubling to me isn’t the fact that we know what’s coming this fall when schools begin to reopen–we will have spikes. It’s that the media will pretend we’re doing the wrong thing just to make Republican governors, and the president, look bad.