The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Governor Mike Parson (R-MO) expressed in a radio interview that the state’s children “will” get COVID-19 when they return to school and suggested that the decision to return students to in-person schooling will be justified even in the event that many or all children are infected.
Parson made the remark during an interview on Friday with talk-radio host Marc Cox on KFTK (97.1 FM). He said,
They’re at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get COVID-19, which they will — and they will when they go to school—they’re not going to the hospitals. They’re not going to have to sit in doctor’s offices. They’re going to go home and they’re going to get over it.
- Parson added that those at high risk of serious COVID-19 symptoms should be protected but that he believes most Missourians are smart enough to figure out how to stay safe without government directives like mask mandates.
- “We gotta move on,” Parson said, adding, “We can’t just let this thing stop us in our tracks.”
- Dr. Alex Garza, incident commander of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said in a July 19 email that the question of returning students to schools was a “Gordian knot.”
- He explained that although it is important for children to be in school, and although it is true that most younger patients typically don’t have serious COVID-19 symptoms, there is concern that children could spread the virus to adult staff and to vulnerable family members at home.
- Additionally, although researchers so far have found children to be less susceptible to serious COVID-19 symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that many new multisystem inflammatory syndrome cases have arisen in children who contracted the coronavirus. The Centers state that as yet, “we don’t know why some children have gotten sick with MIS-C and others have not.”
Nicole Galloway, a Missouri state auditor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, sharply criticized Parson’s remarks in a Tweet. She wrote,
This is stunning ignorance from @GovParsonMO on how COVID-19 affects children. He admitted that he's okay with your kids (and your families) getting the deadly disease when he sends them back to school. Does he not realize multiple American kids have died after being infected?