During a recent radio interview, Missouri Governor Mike Parson explained his unwavering desire to reopen schools across the state, a move that would send K-12 students and teachers into crowded indoor spaces despite surging case numbers in Missouri and around the country.
As for the danger that could pose thousands of children, he assumed they'll just "get over it."
Parson's comments came amid a backdrop of grim statistics in Missouri. The St. Loius Post-Dispatch reported that, at the time of the interview, the virus had killed 1,130 people in Missouri. The day following the interview, Missouri set a new record for single day case count, with 958.
Those numbers may account for the fatalist tone of Parson's comments, which he made during an interview with KFTK talk-radio host Marc Cox.
"These kids have got to get back to school. They're at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get [the virus], 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 doctor's offices."
"They're going to go home and they're going to get over it."
Health advocates, politicians, and Missouri residents have criticized Parson's remarks.
Dr. Alex Garza, incident commander of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the serious dangers involved with reopening schools.
"We worry about those in school who are not children — teachers, support staff and volunteers."
"Many of those people will have a much more serious response to the virus and that is what we want to avoid. These children could also come home and spread the virus to others in their household who could also be at a greater risk of a serious outcome."
Nicole Galloway, Missouri's current State Auditor and the Democratic candidate for Governor, shared her outrage on Twitter.
This is stunning ignorance from @GovParsonMO on how COVID-19 affects children. He admitted that he's okay with your… https://t.co/P3vuCfVTzS— Nicole Galloway (@Nicole Galloway)1595030358.0
Plenty of other people on Twitter showered criticisms upon Parson as well.
@stltoday If ignorance is truly bliss then @GovParsonMO should be euphoric.— Rob Orr (@Rob Orr)1595265772.0
@stltoday Parson’s comments are not only embarrassing they’re scary. How else is he prepared to put children in harms way?— Ian O’Neill (@Ian O’Neill)1595265639.0
@stltoday This toxic bull has got to go #VoteThemOut— Danny Morgan (@Danny Morgan)1595282146.0
@stltoday He speaks. His polling worsens. Classic Trumpian GOP politician.🍿— Merbz 🏳️🌈 (@Merbz 🏳️🌈)1595265560.0
The State of Missouri is set to announce it's school reopening plan on July 21. Only then will we know, concretely, how Parson will impact the health and wellness of kids across his state.