Mike Parson looks contemplative.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson Knows Kids Will Definitely Catch Coronavirus if Schools Reopen, Is Totally Fine With That

"They’re going to get over it."
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Missouri Governor Mike Parson shared his thoughts on reopening schools in the state–thoughts he really should have kept to himself. Basically, his view on the subject is that yes, kids are going to contract the coronavirus and it’s fine because the kids will “get over it.”

“These kids have got to get back to school,” Parson said during a radio interview Friday (via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). “They’re at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get COVID-19, which they will—and they will when they go to school—they’re not going to the hospitals. They’re not going to have to sit in doctors’ offices. They’re going to go home and they’re going to get over it.”

It is true that kids are believed to be a lower risk group for COVID-19. But there is still so much that health experts don’t know about how the virus affects children, in large part because schools have been closed and children have been kept home. When they haven’t been kept home, we’ve seen outbreaks of COVID-19 among kids, like that Christian summer camp that resulted in 82 new cases. In one Texas county, 85 infants under the age of one have tested positive. The information on how the virus affects different age groups is constantly changing as researchers work to fill in the many massive data gaps. For example, the symptoms adults experience have shown to be less severe in children and not last as long, but recent reports show there might be a link between the coronavirus and multi-system inflammatory syndrome–a rare and potentially fatal inflammatory disease in children.

So I don’t know what information Parson thinks he has that makes him so certain that kids will just “get over it” but that claim is wildly presumptuous and incredibly dangerous.

Then, of course, there’s also the issue of who these kids interact with. What would Parson say to the parents of those children who are worried about them bringing the virus into the house? (And given that he likely wants schools to reopen in large part to remove any impediment to forcing parents back to work, so that the state doesn’t have to pay unemployment insurance, who does he expect to care for all these sick kids stuck at home who aren’t even “[sitting] in doctors’ offices”?)

And what would Parson say to the teachers, administrators, and other staff at all of Missouri’s schools? A lot of people are being asked (essentially forced) to literally risk their lives and they’re being offered basically no support whatsoever. Here’s an incredibly upsetting thread detailing what teachers are going through right now:

On top of all of this, Missouri continues to break its own daily record for new coronavirus cases. So I don’t know why anyone would trust that Parson knows what he’s doing regarding any element of this pandemic or anything else, really.

(image: Jacob Moscovitch/Getty Images)
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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.