WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, reporting in CNN revealed a shocking statistic: half a million children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to numbers from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. The news comes as many students and staff across the nation are being forced to return to schools for in-person learning, despite rising case numbers in their communities. The result has been forced temporary closures in districts where learning resumed and cases immediately spiked.

In Florida, the swift increase in cases among school-aged children has gotten so serious that the state asked many counties to hide COVID-19 numbers from the public. The counties in Florida with the largest public school districts were unprepared to reopen schools based on a lack of testing capacity and COVID-19 positivity rates well above the WHO’s safety recommendations — but sent students and staff back to school anyway — according to a recent Accountable.US analysis.

Florida is just one of the states pushing in-person learning despite dangerously low testing rates and high instances of infection. And amid this chaos, a new report by the New York Times showed that obtaining COVID-19 tests for children was particularly difficult.

“We’ve known since the start of the pandemic crisis that testing is critical for keeping the public safe. Sending kids back to school without adequate testing available for them or their younger family members is a recipe for disaster,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “The public health crisis isn’t over. Trump and his administration need to ensure that quick, affordable testing is available to everyone who needs it.”

Accountable.US is tracking the Trump administration’s failure to adequately equip communities with coronavirus tests. Follow the group’s work at WhereAreTheTests.com.

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