Hong Kong closed its entire school system over less than 100 new COVID-19 cases. Trump is pushing to send 57 million kids back to school in the middle of the world's worst outbreak.
- Hong Kong announced the closure of its entire school system after students and parents were found among a cluster of new coronavirus cases.
- 66 new cases were found between Thursday and Friday, prompting the Education Bureau to shut some 900 schools from Monday.
- It is a stark contrast to the US, which on Thursday recorded its highest-ever number of cases across the country, more than 65,000.
- Even adjusting for their respective populations, US infections are rampant in comparison to Hong Kong.
- Nonetheless, President Donald Trump is pushing for schools to reopen quickly, threatening to cut funding to those which do not.
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Hong Kong announced the closure of its entire school system after a cluster of new cases — a stark contrast to the situation in the US, where President Donald Trump is pushing for 57 million children to return to school even as the outbreak there grows faster than ever.
In Hong Kong, the closure announcement came after students and parents appeared amongst 66 new infections identified on Thursday and Friday, the Education Bureau said on Friday, according to Reuters.
Around 900 primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong first shut on January 24 and reopened on May 27.
The reaction is indicative of how seriously Hong Kong is still taking the pandemic, and is a far cry from the mindset in the White House.
Trump is advocating to reopen US schools at a time when the record for the daily number of new cases has been broken six times in the last 10 days.
On Thursday, a record 59,880 new cases were reported, according to a The New York Times database, bringing the total to 3.1 million.
That makes the US the world's worst-affected country, with more than 133,000 total deaths.
Hong Kong is far smaller than the US — with a population of 7.5 million compared to 330 million. But even adjusted for their populations, there were 1,761 times more new infections per capita in the US and Hong Kong on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that schools should open because several countries in Europe had done so with no apparent issues.
"In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS," he said.
All of the countries opened schools while they were ahead of the US in their virus cycle, and also underwent less severe outbreaks.
The president then threatened to cut off funding for schools that didn't reopen.
"The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!," he tweeted.
US education officials are currently drawing up plans for how to reopen schools.
Advice from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that class sizes should be small, with staggered pick-up and drop-off times, and remote working for exposed students and teachers.
The extent to which children can catch and transmit the virus is not yet clear, though what is known is that the virus is far less dangerous to children than it is to adults.
Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the US, told The Washington Post that opening schools in large numbers is "not going to be easy because we've never done it before."
"This is uncharted waters."
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Thursday "the child will always come first."
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