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Biden pledges $10 billion for COVID testing in schools

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Pressure is building on schools to reopen. To speed up the process, the Biden administration is promising $10 billion in federal funds for coronavirus testing in schools. Carter Evans reports.

Video Transcript

- We're going to turn now to the coronavirus pandemic. Health officials are warning tonight about new COVID hotspots, 18 states where new infections are rising rapidly. And the CDC is signaling tonight that there may be a change in its recommendation on those social distancing rules in schools. Here's CBS's Carter Evans.

CARTER EVANS: Tonight, pressure is ramping up to reopen schools. One of the biggest hurdles, six-foot social distancing. The CDC is now considering reducing the distance in classrooms to three feet. Is that too close?

TOM FRIEDEN: Well, three feet is manageable, as long as you have masks in place.

CARTER EVANS: There appears to be some evidence that opening windows in classrooms can help prevent the spread.

TOM FRIEDEN: Absolutely. The more you can bring the outdoors in, the safer you can be.

CARTER EVANS: New data shows infection rates are highest between the ages of 12 and 17 in at least 34 states. The Biden administration is announcing tonight they'll distribute $10 billion in federal funds for coronavirus testing in schools, as 18 states report at least a 10% rise in new cases. This comes as 17 states are now allowing most or all businesses to reopen with no capacity limits-- perfect timing for a potential St. Patrick's Day surge.

ANTHONY FAUCI: My concern is that we prematurely pull back and don't give the vaccines time to continue to protect the country.

CARTER EVANS: Now, former President Donald Trump is publicly encouraging his supporters to get vaccinated.

DONALD TRUMP: I would recommend it, and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don't want to get it.

CARTER EVANS: And a dose of good news tonight in California-- after being shut down for more than a year, Disneyland will reopen on April 30 at 15% capacity. Now, the mass vaccination site behind me here in Los Angeles is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. And today, the government opened up another site just like it in Cleveland with more planned in Atlanta and Detroit. They can vaccinate up to 6,000 people a day. Norah?

- Carter Evans, thank you.