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Top U.S. health officials say states should pause reopening efforts

The rising number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. proves the pandemic is far from abating. New cases are setting single-day records in several states and declining in only two. While the nation’s top medical officials say states should pause reopening in order to control virus spread, the Trump administration insists schools should resume as normal this fall. Yamiche Alcindor reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Now the latest on the summer surge of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The number of dead topped 550,000 worldwide today, including 133,000 here in the United States. And the number of new infections shows no signs of abating.

    White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Day by day, the new surge in COVID-19 cases is growing. Much of the country is now steadily reporting increased infections. And, today, there were new single-day highs in Alabama and Montana and other parts of the country.

    Only two states, Vermont and New Hampshire are seeing infections decline, according to The New York Times. Governors are scrambling to try to flatten the new curve, after their states reopened.

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis:

    If you're in those vulnerable age groups, or you have the comorbidities, be very careful about types of close contact you have, avoid crowds at all costs, because those are going to be situations where you're going to be most at risk.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Today, the nation's top infectious diseases doctor advised states to pause lifting restrictions. Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke on an online forum in Washington.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci:

    So, rather than think in terms of reverting back to a complete shutdown, I would think we need to get the states pausing in their opening process, looking at what did not work well, and try to mitigate that.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Meanwhile, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention insisted his agency is not revising its guidelines for schools to reopen.

  • Dr. Robert Redfield:

    It's not a revision of the guidelines. It's just to provide additional information to help the schools be able to use the guidance that we put forward.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Robert Redfield spoke a day after President Trump called the CDC standards impractical.

    Yesterday, Vice President Pence said new guidelines would be coming out next week as a result of the president's criticism.

    At the Capitol, debate also heated up over reopening schools. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned against putting children at risk.

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    This administration seems to be turning its back on science and instead saying, open up, take a risk. Oh, by the way, open up the schools. Overwhelmingly, the teachers want to open up the schools, but it has to be safe for the children.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy argued that remote learning will hurt a generation of students. And he urged incentives for schools to resume.

  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.:

    You can protect them from liability, so schools will actually have a willingness and a desire to open, and not a fear that they're going to be sued.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The pandemic's economic damage keeps mounting as well. The Labor Department said today more than 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.

    The world's other hot spots are also struggling to make headway. Today, India reported 25,000 new cases in 24 hours. In hard-hit Mumbai, doctors went door to door to test residents for the virus.

    And the government of Serbia dropped plans for a weekend lockdown, after two nights of violent protests over the restrictions. Officials also banned gatherings of more than 10 people in Belgrade.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

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