Covid Journal, July 24, 2020
Education, Part II
I read the other day that the government of Ontario has implemented a launch plan for casinos to get started again.
F&cking brilliant. That’s our priority: gambling, booze, drugs and hanging out on patios.
Who cares about getting our kids back to school in a safe environment? Or using the situation to implement real solutions to age-old problems?
What bothers me most is that we’re all to ready to create a system of inequality after decades of all ranges of people have gained some ground. In the post-Covid environment? Are you single mother with a day job and a kid to take care? You now have to choose between scheduling uncertainty and economic ruin. Are you someone that has to work unique hours that don’t perfectly align with school’s wacky 8:10-2:30 routine? Good luck finding an employer that will match that for a couple of days a week.
And as school-haters like Stephen Lecce drag their feet and download problems to wildly different school boards, ensuring zero consistency for the final outcome, what role do parents get in all of this?
ZIP. NADA. ZILCH. We’re told to sit in the sidelines and wait for the ‘experts’ to figure it out. What experts?
For those interested in tracking what the rest of the world is doing, here are some observations:
- Sweden: All children are currently in school. About 2/3 as many kids have antibodies as do adults (4.7% versus 6.7%). Did they catch the virus at home or at school? Probably both. But only 1 person in Sweden under 20 has died of COVID.
- Denmark: Re-opened for younger kids. Very strict transmission control measures in school. No increase in overall COVID cases, and no child deaths.
- Germany: Older kids only (they thought adolescents would be more compliant, hahahaha). Seronegative kids are allowed to not wear facemasks but adults must. Increased transmission amongst students seen, but not from students-to-staff.
- Norway: Same as Denmark.
- France, Belgium, Switzerland, Greece: Same, with rare child deaths.
- Israel: Schools were seen to be drivers of transmission once re-opened- there were 130 cases in one school alone, though they remain open. Distancing is very difficult and schools remain open. No increase in child mortality to date.
- Taiwan: Schools never closed. No increase in COVID transmission or child mortality.
- MORTALITY DATA FOR CHILDREN IN THE US
Even in the US, where Covid seems out of control, 22 states have reported ZERO child deaths (ie. generally anyone less than 20 years of age).
In other states, it is estimated that roughly 30 children have died due to Covid-19.
This is a country that has 70 million kids.
Overall pediatric mortality rates (meaning, how many children who contract COVID-19 die) are between 0% and 0.2% (NYC at the peak of the epidemic, with the bias towards severity).
Masks are the soluton …
Masks – especially for all adults – would be a key to making schools safe. Cleaning, distancing and repeated use of sanitizers would also be effective, as would regular post-class cleaning.
Sports and assemblies would likely be limited in scope, but there’s no reason why single-player sports shouldn’t be investigated.
Some Other Resources …
Benjamin Lee and William V. Raszka. COVID-19 Transmission and Children: The Child Is Not to Blame. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879
School Closure and Management Practices during Coronavirus Outbreaks Including COVID-19: A Rapid Systematic Review 74 – The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health (May ) https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30095-X
Re-Opening Schools Safely: The Case for Collaboration, Constructive Disruption of Pre-COVID Expectations, and Creative Solutions – The Journal of Pediatrics (May ) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2020.05.022
Education and the COVID-19 Pandemic – Prospects (Apr ) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-020- 09464-3
Rethinking the Role of the School after COVID-19 – The Lancet Public Health (May ) https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30124-9
Understanding COVID-19 in Children May Provide Clues to Protect at-Risk Populations – BMJ Paediatrics Open (May ) https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjpo-2020-000702
Low-Income Children and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – JAMA Pediatrics (May 13) https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.2065
Feeding Low-Income Children during the Covid-19 Pandemic – The New England Journal of Medicine (Apr ) https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMp2005638
To Mask or Not to Mask Children to Overcome COVID-19 – European Journal of Pediatrics (May 9) https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-020-03674-9