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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Reopened schools generally have not experienced large coronavirus outbreaks, an early sign that they may not be the super-spreaders some experts had feared.

Why it matters: Data so far suggest that schools can be safely reopened, alleviating one of the biggest and most sensitive tensions of the pandemic.

By the numbers: In a Brown University study of about 227,000 kids in all 50 states, the infection rate was just 0.14% among students and 0.25% percent among staff. Even in high-risk areas of the U.S., the student rates were under 0.5%.

  • New York City Public Schools found 18 positive cases out of about 10,600 tests, after nearly three weeks of an in-person school year, the New York Times reports.
  • A separate study of more than 57,000 open day care providers showed that day care was safe as long as basic safety measures, including small groups and mask-wearing, are in place.

What they’re saying: “I hope that more schools and districts will see these data, and others, and perhaps start to think about how reopening might work. We do not want to be cavalier or put people at risk. But by not opening, we are putting people at risk, too,” Brown University economist Emily Oster told The Atlantic.

Yes, but: The data, however encouraging, is still limited to smaller school districts, as most of the largest districts opened with fully remote learning.

  • Managing the logistics of mitigation strategies while juggling budget cuts, staffing and student reliance on public transit is a major challenge, Noelle Ellerson Ng, associate executive director at the AASA, the School Superintendents Association, told Axios.

Go deeper

20 hours ago - Health

WH coronavirus task force: States must "flatten the curve" to sustain health system

A walk-up Covid-19 testing site in San Fernando, California, on Nov. 24, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The White House coronavirus task force warned states "the COVID risk to all Americans is at a historic high" and to brace for another surge following Thanksgiving, per a report that emerged Wednesday.

Driving the news: "If you are under 40, you need to assume you became infected during the Thanksgiving period if you gathered beyond your immediate household," said the report, dated Nov. 29, first published by the Center for Public Integrity.

18 hours ago - Health

Obama, Bush and Clinton willing to take coronavirus vaccine in public

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 2017. Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Barack Obama said during an interview on SiriusXM airing Thursday he'll take the COVID-19 vaccine and "may end up taking it on TV." Representatives for George W. Bush and Bill Clinton told CNN they'd also be willing to be inoculated in public.

Why it matters: The former presidents are hoping to instill confidence in the vaccines once authorized for use in the U.S. NIAID director Anthony Fauci has said the U.S. could have herd immunity by the end of next summer or fall if enough people get vaccinated.

Bipartisan group of lawmakers unveils $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.

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