Texas Sen. John Cornyn falsely suggests kids can't get coronavirus

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Doctors say they have seen children with cases of the virus.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) falsely said during an interview on Thursday that the jury is still out on whether children can contract or spread the coronavirus.

"We still don't know whether children can get it and transmit it to others," Cornyn told an NBC affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Public health experts have said children are not immune from the coronavirus.

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The Texas Department of State Health Services "Texas Case Counts" website shows that more than 1,700 people under the age of 19 in the state have tested positive for the virus, with 500 of those younger than 10.

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Children’s Health and UT Southwestern Medical Center, said on Wednesday: "Our experience reflects the experience nationwide, that we’re seeing children with COVID, and some of them are quite ill and some of them require intensive care."

Public health experts also say that, while children are less likely to transmit the virus, they can spread it. That raises questions about how schools can reopen safely this fall, especially in places like Texas, where the virus is surging.

On Friday, according to NBCDFW, Cornyn's office clarified that he was referring to young children, not teenagers, and basing his statements on a tweet posted by former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb nothing that the risks of the coronavirus are not all understood.

Cornyn got other facts about the coronavirus wrong.

After saying that schools can open, Cornyn said it won't do any good if parents don't feel comfortable sending their children back. But he added, "The good news is if you look again at the numbers, no one under the age of 20 has died of the coronavirus."

Multiple people under the age of 20 have died of the coronavirus, including a 17-year-old girl in Texas' Dallas County in April.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said last month that students will be returning to school in person in the fall.

And Cornyn said he supports Abbott's virus response, saying that Abbott "has handled this about as well as you can given the fact that there’s no playbook."

Abbott reopened businesses in Texas before public health experts said it was safe to do so. He also long refused to implement a statewide mask policy, even banning local governments from issuing their own safety ordinances.

Abbott finally gave in to the advice of health experts and announced a statewide mask order on July 2, after renewed increases in the numbers of coronavirus cases in the state.

Cornyn is up for reelection to his Senate seat this fall.

Texas could be a battleground state at the presidential level in November, with the latest RealClearPolitics polling average showing Donald Trump leading Joe Biden by just a slim 2.5% margin.

Cornyn is favored to win reelection, with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report rating the race "likely Republican."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.