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A student is informed by a crossing guard of a temporary school closure in Brooklyn. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

New York City's public school system will close for in-person learning beginning Thursday after coronavirus positivity rates in the city topped 3%, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Why it matters: The city, which is staring down a second coronavirus wave after being the world's epicenter for the pandemic earlier this year, previously boasted having more students physically in classrooms than nearly any other locality in the country, per the New York Times.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Marisa Fernandez: The tough decision taps into the struggle of school districts all across the country during this time of peak community spread.

Worth noting: Despite the closure, indoor dining remains open at a reduced capacity across the state, per the Times.

What they're saying: Asked at a press conference if the school closure was a setback to the state's handling of the virus, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, "If you’re on the planet, the cases are going up."

  • "The whole world is going up. Right? The whole world. Every state in the nation is going up. Right? So success becomes what? How you’re doing relative to everybody else. That’s what success becomes.”
  • "And New Yorkers are doing better than everybody else."

The big picture: Hospitalizations in New York are steadily rising, and cases in the state have seen a dramatic jump this month — but the numbers are still well below the levels seen this spring, per the COVID Tracking Project.

Go deeper

20 hours ago - World

Azar's UN remarks to take aim at China

Alex Azar during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing. Photo credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar is expected to give a speech at a special session of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday that hails U.S. progress on coronavirus vaccines while criticizing — though not directly naming — China.

Why it matters: U.S. government officials are concerned that China will use the UN special session to spread disinformation about the origins of the virus and China's early missteps in handling the pandemic.

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.

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.

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