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Fauci says virtual classrooms better in parts of country hard hit by COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., July 31, 2020. Kevin Dietsch/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Easing in with virtual classrooms would be better in parts of the country that have a coronavirus infection positivity rate of more than 10%, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert, said on Tuesday.

Fauci said that the default position should be to try and reopen schools for the psychological health of children, but added that a unilateral approach to reopening schools could not be taken.

“To make a statement on one side vs the other and take the country as a whole won’t work — we’re so heterogeneous with the infections,” Fauci said in a virtual conference hosted by health information website Healthline.

Some U.S. schools have closed almost as quickly as they welcomed back students as the nation tries to reopen while the level of new cases per day remains high in many states.

The U.S. has more than 5 million cases of confirmed coronavirus infections, the highest in the world, according to a Reuters tally.

Reporting by Manas Mishra and Trisha Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama