James S. Brady Press Briefing Room Washington D.C. July 23 5:25 P.M. EDT
Thank you very much. Thank you, everybody.
We've had a tremendous week uniting the country in our fight against the China virus. I have reminded people of the importance of masks when you can't socially distance, in particular. A strong message has been sent out to young people to stop going to crowded bars and other crowded places.
Yesterday, we made the amazing announcement for our plans to protect nursing home residents. We're working very hard on that. We're doing very well all over the country. And also about contracting with Pfizer — we made a big, big, beautiful contract with Pfizer. We think they're very close — but we have a lot of companies that are very close — to produce a vaccine.
And I wanted to come out again today to share some additional news with you: This afternoon, my political team came to me and laid out our plans for the convention in Jacksonville, Florida. It's a place I love. I love that state. The drawings look absolutely beautiful. I never thought we could have something look so good, so fast with everything going on. And everything was going well — a tremendous list of speakers; thousands of people wanting to be there — and I mean, in some cases, desperately be there. They wanted to attend. People making travel arrangements all over the country; they wanted to be there. The pageantry, the signs, the excitement were really, really top of the line.
But I looked at my team, and I said, "The timing for this event is not right. It's just not right with what's happened recently — the flare up in Florida — to have a big convention. It's not the right time."
It's really something that, for me — I have to protect the American people. That's what I've always done. That's what I always will do. That's what I'm about.
They said, "Sir, we can make this work very easily. We have great enthusiasm. Incredible enthusiasm. Even the polls say about the most enthusiasm they've seen. We can do this safely, and we can do it responsibly."
And I said, "There's nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe, whether that's from the China virus or the radical-left mob that you see in Portland" — where I want to thank Homeland Security and others in law enforcement for doing a fantastic job over the last few days. They went in, and people were out of control for 51 days — a long time. And Homeland Security and other law enforcement with us went in, and they've done a great job protecting our property — the federal courthouse and other property — and, most importantly, protecting our people. Or the senseless violence that you see in Chicago or New York or Detroit — a lot of other cities where so many people are shot, and so many people are killed. And people elected me to help and to protect.
So, I told my team, "It's time to cancel the Jacksonville, Florida, component of the GOP Convention." We'll be starting in North Carolina for the Monday, as has always been planned. We were never taking that off. That's remaining as it is. The delegates are going to get together. That's where they do their nomination. So, the delegates are going to North Carolina, and they'll be doing the nomination. And we're going to do some other things with tele-rallies and online — the week that we're discussing, which will be really good. I think we're going to do it well. And I'll still do a convention speech in a different form, but we won't do a big, crowded convention per se. It's just not the right time for that.
I care deeply about the people of Florida and everywhere else, frankly, in this country — and even in the world — who would be coming into the state, and I don't want to do anything to upset it. They'll be doing very well very shortly. We're going to put some maps up of the country behind me, and you'll see that the area that we're talking about is a hotspot. You will also see a lot of the country is — has no problem whatsoever — most of the country, actually. So I'm always going to take care of you, so that that's the way we're going to do it.
I've spoken to Governor DeSantis and informed other political leaders. I want to thank the Jacksonville community, and its great mayor. He's a great — great guy. Really great guy. They wanted it so badly. And all of the other political representatives in Jacksonville and in Florida. And just very special people — a very special group. And they were there for us, 100 percent.
Today, I want to provide an update on the actions we're taking to support the safe reopening of America's schools. Parents around the world who have had their children home for the last few months have a greater appreciation for the fact that teachers are essential workers, that they're essential to our children's future. Our goal is to protect our teachers and students from the China virus while ensuring that families with high-risk factors can continue to participate from home. Very important.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has released guidance recommending that schools reopen. It said, quote:
- "Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in [a] social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical [and] sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation. This, in turn, places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality. Beyond the educational impact and social impact of school closures, there has been [a] substantial impact on food security and physical activity for children and [for] families."
So, that's very important, and there's a highway — it goes both ways.
The National Education Association recently stated, "Despite the momentous efforts of educators during the pandemic, online learning has never been an effective replacement for in-person learning and support." Being at the school, being on the campus is very, very important.
One study estimates that, due to school closures last spring, the average student will begin the school year roughly 35 percent behind in reading compared to the typical year, and more than 50 percent behind in math. That's a big statement.
According to McKinsey & Company, learning loss will probably be greatest among low-income black and Hispanic students. They're the ones that are hit the hardest. We don't want that happening.
Thirty million American students rely on schools for free and reduced meals. Over 70 percent of the students who receive mental health services do so through their schools. According to HHS, one in five reports allegedly, having to do with child abuse, they have neglect — and these are neglect and neglected cases are submitted by education personnel. So people in the education world, on the premises, will be the ones that report neglect and other problems when they see the children. They know if they've been neglected. They know if they've been hurt or harmed in any way, whether it's at home or someplace else. But they see this at school. You don't get to see that if you're not going to school. It's a big thing.
Fortunately, the data shows that children are lower risk from the China virus, very substantially. When children do contact the virus, they often have only very mild symptoms or none at all, and medical complications are exceedingly rare. Those that do face complications often have underlying medical conditions. Ninety-nine percent of all China virus hospitalizations are adults. And 99.96 percent of all fatalities are adults. That means that children are a tiny percentage — less than 1 percent, and even a small percentage of 1 percent.
In a typical year, the flu results in more deaths of those under 18 in the United States than have been lost thus far to the coronavirus. Many different names. Many, many different names.
The life of every child is sacred and must be protected. Our sole focus is the health and wellbeing of America's children.
I have a very, very special person who loves children, who is — who is, I think, one of the greatest athletes of all time. A lot of people say "the greatest pitcher of all time." Known as a "relief pitcher" who could have been whatever he wanted. Some people — he is the greatest reliever of all time, by far. Substantially more saves than anybody else. In fact, he got the Presidential Medal of Freedom recently.
And he — I'm reading off these stats. I knew he was the best. I knew he was great, but I didn't know it was almost double anybody else. But he's a man who loves children — has children, loves children, works hard with children. We're going to go outside and be with some little leaguers. Mariano Rivera — you know, he's the "Sandman," right? My wife said, "Darling, why do they call him the 'Sandman'?" I said, "You know, they play the song. He just puts the batters to sleep." And that's exactly what happened.
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