Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt learned some disturbing new information on Monday morning: Children can, in fact, contract the coronavirus.
“We’re all worried about sending our kids back to school, what is that going to look like for our country and for our elderly grandparents and things like that,” Earhardt said during the morning broadcast. “97,000 kids have tested positive? That was such a shock to me, because I had heard kids really don’t get it, if they do, they’re all going to be OK.”
She was referring to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which found that in just the last two weeks of July alone, more than 97,000 tested positive for the virus. Nearly 350,000 children have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic, which as of July 30th accounted for 8.8 percent of total cases.
Of course, Earhardt, who could be considered some sort of journalist, was apparently unaware of these basic facts. Instead, she chose to believe misinformation from President Donald Trump, who said on her show last week, “If you look at children, children are almost—and I would almost say definitely—but almost immune from this disease.” He added, “They don’t have a problem. They just don’t have a problem.”
It was that specific false claim from the president that prompted Facebook to finally take down one of his campaign’s posts, which featured the video clip from Fox. Twitter similarly blocked the Team Trump account from posting until they removed a tweet with that piece of misinformation.
When Earhardt asked an emergency room doctor from Austin, Texas on Monday if all of the kids who did get COVID-19 are “doing OK,” the doctor told her that the 97,000 number is likely a vast underestimate. “I can guarantee you that number is actually much higher,” Dr. Natashia Kathuria said.
While children are “usually asymptomatic” or “have very mild symptoms,” Dr. Kathuria patiently explained to Earhardt that we should be “worried” about them contracting it in schools and then spreading it to their parents and grandparents, who are at greater risk of serious medical problems and death.
“Yeah, we’re just going to have to be extremely careful,” Earhardt replied, seeming to finally get it. “Because we all—most Americans want the kids back in school, but we want to do it safely.”
She again asked her guest to reassure her that kids only get “minimal side effects” if any at all from COVID-19, but the doctor didn’t entirely put her at ease.
“That’s the majority of them,” Dr. Kathuria said, before informing Earhardt that a seven-year-old child in Georgia recently died from the virus without any other known medical issues. “Kids get sick,” she added. “They get multi-system inflammatory syndrome from this. They can get ill from this, the likelihood is just lower.”
“So they are not immune to this,” she continued, in direct contradiction to Trump. “They definitely can fall ill.”
It’s the type of reality-based information that Earhardt would never have received from the president of the United States.