Education Secretary Betsy DeVos claimed on Fox News on July 30 “there has been no data that has suggested that it is unsafe for kids to go back to school” during the latest surge of COVID-19, which has killed over 150,000 Americans in just a few months.
DeVos told Fox News Sunday on July 26: “There’s nothing in the data that suggests that kids being in school is in any way dangerous.”
However, Israeli medical and public-health officials told the Daily Beast that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to reopen schools on May 17 caused a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country. On June 3, more than 244 students and school staff got COVID-19.
Israel’s education ministry said 2,026 students, teachers, and staff caught COVID-19, and 28,147 are in quarantine because they were exposed.
In July, 393 kindergartens and schools closed because of COVID-19 cases.
Hagai Levine — an epidemiologist at the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and chairman of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians — explained what happened:
Contrary to our advice, the government decided to open the entire system all at once on May 17. What happened next was entirely predictable.
Netanyahu, who was indicted for crimes in 2019, told Israelis on May 17 to “go out and enjoy yourselves,” reported the Daily Beast, but then the country went into free fall:
Jump to July, when cases of COVID-19 are spiking, putting Israel high on the list of countries who’ve lost control of the virus’ contagion; the economy is cratering, with unemployment at about 23 percent, and the new government is on the verge of collapse.
Siegal Sadetzki, the head of the nation’s public-health service, said she quit her job because the government “has lost its compass.”