TRUMP-backing Rep. Devin Nunes said it was "overkill" to cancel schools in California, as many different states have canceled in-person classes for the rest of the academic year.
Republican Rep. Nunes of California told Fox News he believes people should "get back" to work "as soon as possible" – after California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said in a statement it seems kids will not go back to school for the rest of the year.
Nunes' comments to Fox News' Laura Ingraham came just days after nationwide social distancing guidelines were extended until the end of April, as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.
"The schools were just cancelled out here in California, which is way overkill," Nunes told The Ingraham Angle.
"I mean it's possible the kids could have went back to school in two weeks to four weeks. But they just cancelled the rest of the schools."
Many schools around the nation have already closed schools through the end of the academic year and moved to online lessons.
Yesterday, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said in a statement it looks like kids will not be heading back for in-person classes until the fall, Ed Source reported.
"Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year," Thurmond said.
He added that the decision is ultimately up to local districts to make the final call, and said the Department of Education is ready to offer guidance to set up distance learning.
California Governor Gavin Newsom had previously warned that it's "unlikely" schools will open again before summer amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Kansas and Virginia have already closed campuses for in-person learning for the rest of the spring, and many other states have canceled at least until the end of April.
As of Wednesday, the U.S. had confirmed more than 190,000 cases of coronavirus, with more than 4,100 deaths.
Nunes added when speaking with Fox that he feels positive about possible COVID-19 treatments – which have been hailed by Donald Trump, despite the fact that the drugs are only in trial phases for coronavirus and there is little evidence showing they could be used as a definitive fight against the virus.
“I'm optimistic here. I think that the drugs that are on the market now, look how quick we were able to get this approved, this new malaria drug that you have been talking about every night," the Congressman said, referring to hydroxychloroquine.
"There’s a lot of optimism here that we have in some of these drugs that are coming online.
"The vaccines are going to take a while, but look – we have this bill that we just passed last week, $2.2 trillion worth, we have to focus on keeping people employed," he added.
Nunes emphasized that he doesn't "believe we can wait until the end of April" to get people back to work.
"I just don't know any economy that's ever survived where you unplug the entire economy and expect things to go back and be normal," he said.
"The more tests that are out there, the more people that are getting testing – let's learn about the treatments, let's get good data as to who's being impacted and let's figure out a way to get back to work."
Nunes' comments came after Ingraham spoke of comments from former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb, who has said life will not be "perfectly normal until we get a vaccine" – which will likely take at least a year to develop, experts say.
Despite comments from Gottlieb that the world will not be "perfectly normal" until a vaccine is developed, the former FDA Commissioner has said that in a few months, he expects people can have their routines back in some capacity.
"#COVID19 won't go away. It'll infect the southern hemisphere as they winter and will want to come back to U.S. in fall," he tweeted on Monday.
"But we'll have a massive surveillance system by then, and I believe more than one drug to both prevent and treat infection. Our tool box will be very different."
Gottlieb told CNBC's Squak Box that after COVID-19 peaks around late April or early May, people can see some routine again.
"In July and August we should be coming back to some element of our normal lives," he said.
Nunes' statements on Fox News echoed similar remarks made previously by Trump, who had said that he wanted to get the country back up and running by Easter.
Trump said last week that negative economics impacts related to the shutdown would be worse than the virus itself.
"You are going to lose a number of people to the flu. But you are going to lose more people by putting a country into a massive recession or depression," Trump said in a virtual town hall meeting.
"You're going to lose people. You are going to have suicides by the thousands…You're going to have instability."
Trump reversed his goal of reopening in mid-April, however, and extended social distancing guidelines until April 30.
He later said he played down the coronavirus pandemic "to give hope" as a "cheerleader" for America, while he warned of a "very painful" two weeks ahead.
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