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Students wear masks and face shields at school in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Sai Aung Main/AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the largest disruption of education in history, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday, AP reports.

Why it matters: Over 1 billion students were affected by closures in more than 160 countries in mid-July. Guterres warned the situation could lead to "a generational catastrophe that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities."

  • He added that at least 40 million more children around the world have missed out on education "in their critical preschool year."

The big picture: The pandemic has exacerbated what Guterres called the world's "learning crisis."

  • More than 250 million children were already out of school before the pandemic, and only a quarter of people in developing countries left school "with basic skills."

What he's saying: "We are at a defining moment for the world’s children and young people," Guterres said.

  • "The decisions that governments and partners take now will have lasting impact on hundreds of millions of young people, and on the development prospects of countries for decades to come."
  • Guterres added that "getting students back into schools and learning institutions as safely as possible must be a top priority" for localities that have contained the spread of the virus.

Go deeper

White House urges Iowa to tighten restrictions as COVID-19 surges

Reynolds meets with Trump in May. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Iowa is experiencing an "unyielding COVID spread," illustrated by swelling hospital admissions and ICU data, according to a Nov. 8 White House Coronavirus Task Force report obtained by the local ABC News affiliate.

Driving the news: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has repeatedly said that strict rules were unnecessary and ineffective, on Tuesday issued limits on large gatherings and implemented a partial mask mandate for social settings and some businesses.

Nov 11, 2020 - Economy & Business

Airlines urge nations to replace quarantine with digital travel pass

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado

Three global alliances representing 58 airlines are pushing governments to replace onerous quarantine restrictions with widespread COVID-19 testing and digital travel passes that would verify who's safe to fly, AP reports.

Why it matters: Adopting common testing procedure with results verified by a secure smartphone app could help restart international travel by building trust between countries without requiring a 14-day quarantine.

Fauci: Working with Trump administration has "been very stressful"

Anthony Fauci. Photo: GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a Wednesday interview that working alongside the Trump administration to combat the coronavirus in the U.S. has been "very stressful."

Why it matters: Although Fauci, who considers himself apolitical, is among the most trusted voices in the country on the coronavirus, he has faced attacks from Trump loyalists and the president himself, who recently called him a "disaster."