Cuomo op-ed: Schools offer smart lessons to curb COVID spread

Coronavirus Update for New York
NEW YORK (WABC) -- In an op-ed piece by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, he argues that low positivity rates in schools show that it's possible to control the spread of COVID.

The Newsday published op-ed has the governor compare the community positivity rates on Long Island versus the low rates of transmission in public schools.

He says that public schools are proof that it's possible to control the spread of the virus if everyone follows public health guidelines.

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"We know how a virus spreads. We have all had someone in our homes catch a virus, and we all know what we had to do to prevent other family members from getting sick," Cuomo said. "The same is true of COVID, only on a larger scale maintaining social distancing and wearing masks keeps that from happening."

The governor says the state has done hundreds of thousands of COVID tests in schools, and in every part of the state, the infection rate in schools is lower than the surrounding community.

Cuomo used the Long Island town of Hauppauge, which has an infection rate of 6%, as an example where the community rate of infection is much higher than the school rate, 1.8%.

"As any parent knows, schools are usually places where illnesses spread easily. But in the case of COVID, the safest place in the community is truly the school," he said.

The reason for this, Cuomo says, because schools are following the basic rules.

"The students and teachers wear masks. They practice social distancing. They frequently wash their hands," Cuomo said. "Many of the students are in fact quite excited and very serious about doing their part to keep their friends and families safe."

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He reiterates that the main requirement to control this spread is to be smart and disciplined.

He says gatherings in smaller groups in homes have become the largest spreader.

"Home, family, friends seem safe, but not from COVID," he said. "The vaccine is coming. We see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let's stay smart and alive until we get there."

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