US health officials consider reduction in recommended physical distance

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U.S. authorities are considering reducing the recommended physical distance to limit the spread of COVID-19 from two to one meter, which would make it easier to reopen schools, immunologist Anthony Fauci said on Sunday.

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The health authorities “have taken note of the data which is accumulating, seeming more and more to indicate that a meter is sufficient, under certain conditions”, underlined the adviser to the White House on the pandemic.

“They analyze them and I can assure you that within a reasonable time, they will give recommendations according to the data at their disposal,” he said on the CNN channel.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard University released a study in 251 Massachusetts schools on Thursday [Nord-Est des États-Unis] which respect, for some, minimum distances of one meter, and for others of two meters.

According to its conclusions, there is no significant difference in the number of cases recorded between the two types of establishment, provided that the wearing of the mask is respected.

However, “the most important obstacle to a complete reopening of schools is the obligation to have a distance of two meters, because we do not have the space or the staff necessary to bring all the pupils back five days a week. By respecting it, estimated Thomas Putnam and Mark Elledge, school officials in the State of New York, in a letter addressed in February to the local authorities.

One year after their closure, the reopening of schools varies greatly between different states in the United States as well as between public, private and religious schools. In New York City, the country’s largest school district, schools began to gradually reopen in December. In Texas, state authorities direct schools to provide face-to-face instruction.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading federal health agency, is pushing for resumption of classes for 55 million students in the public, saying it should not be vaccine-conditioned teachers.

Nearly 69 million Americans have now received one dose or more of the vaccine, or 26.6% of the adult population.