Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

America's confidence in the public school system rose by 12 points this year to 41% — its highest point since 2004, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

Why it matters: "Double-digit increases in confidence for any institution are exceedingly rare," Gallup notes. The jump comes as teachers, administrators and parents are still figuring out how to safely get kids back to school in the midst of a global pandemic, as the U.S. reports the most coronavirus infections and fatalities in the world.

Where it stands: Within one week of K-12 schools reopening in Georgia, 1,135 students have been told to quarantine in one school district after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

  • In Florida, a domestic epicenter of the virus, nearly 300 high school graduates were advised to self-isolate in late July after someone at their graduation ceremony was diagnosed with the virus, CNN reports.
  • In Indiana, which set a new high last week for coronavirus infections recorded in a single day, 228 students in one school district were recently sent home to quarantine, AP reports.
  • In Delaware, which has low case spread compared to the rest of the U.S., over 200 K-12 students were advised to quarantine after a football player tested for the virus within the last few days, per AP.
  • In Alabama, over 1,200 students from an elementary and middle school will start classes online after officials learned Monday that an individual "connected with both schools" had tested positive for the virus, AP reports.

Between the lines: Swiftly implemented quarantines show that schools are willing to take action to slow the spread, but it doesn't change the danger that kids face when returning to the classroom — especially in high-risk states.

The big picture: Gallup polling also found significant upticks in American confidence this year in banks, small businesses, organized, and the medical system. Confidence in the police fell five points to 48% — the first time in 27 years that Gallup has tracked this trend that approval fell below the majority threshold.

Methodology: Gallup conducted cellphone and landline interviews June 8-July 24 with a random sample of 1,226 adults in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Margin of error is ± 4 percentage points.

Go deeper: What a day at school looks like in a pandemic

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Sep 23, 2020 - Health

America's halfway coronavirus response

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some of the same technological advances that have enabled us to partially weather the economic and health tolls of the pandemic may be paradoxically discouraging us from taking fuller measures.

Why it matters: Thanks to tech like video chat and automation, a large portion of the population has been able to mostly escape the effects of the pandemic — and even thrive in some cases. But far too many of us risk being left further behind as the virus spreads.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 980,000 worldwide on Thursday.

By the numbers: Globally, more than 32 million million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Johns Hopkins data shows.

Sep 23, 2020 - Health

CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus

CDC Director Robert Redfield said at a Senate hearing Wednesday that preliminary data shows that over 90% of Americans remain susceptible to COVID-19 — meaning they have not yet been exposed to the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The U.S. surpassed 200,000 coronavirus deaths this week — the most recorded in the world — and over 6.8 million Americans have contracted the virus so far.

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