COVID-19: evidence shows that transmission by schoolchildren is low

Reposted from Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

Posted on September 10, 2020 by niclewis | 

By Nic Lewis

Much fuss has been made in the UK, not least by teachers’ unions, about recommencing physical school attendance. As this issue applies to many countries, I thought it worth highlighting research findings in Europe.

While it is evident that school age children can be infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it is extremely rare for them to become seriously ill with COVID-19, and their risk of dying as a result of infection is almost zero. The relevant issue is therefore how much children’s contribution to the spread of COVID-19 to adults, by themselves or via other children, is affected by school attendance.

A report last month “COVID-19 in children and the role of school settings in COVID-19 transmission” by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control analyses evidence from many countries and throws light on these questions. Some key summary conclusions that it reaches on various important issues are as follows:

Overview of outbreaks and transmission in childcare school settings: experiences from Member States[i]

In summary, clusters in educational facilities were identified in several of the 15 reporting countries, however those that occurred were limited in number and size, and were rather exceptional events. Several countries specifically said that they had no indication that school settings played a significant role in the transmission of COVID-19. Secondary transmission in schools, either from child-to-child or from child-to-adult, was perceived to be rare. Countries where schools had re-opened by the time of the survey stated that they had not seen an increase in cases in these settings.

Overview of outbreaks and transmission in school settings: evidence from the literature

What is the evidence of transmission between children within the school setting?

The conclusion from these investigations is that child-to-child transmission in schools is uncommon and not the primary cause of SARS-CoV-2 infection of children whose infection onset coincides with the period during which they are attending school.

What is the evidence of transmission from children (students) to adults (teacher/staff) within the school setting?

Where COVID-19 in children was detected and contacts followed-up, no adult contacts in the school setting have been detected as SARS-CoV-2 positive during the follow-up period. The conclusion from these investigations is that children are not the primary drivers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to adults in the school setting.

What is the evidence of transmission from adults (teacher/staff) to children (students) within the school setting?

While there is evidence of transmission from adults to children in household settings, there is little evidence of this occurring within the school setting.

What is the evidence of transmission between adults (teacher/staff) within the school setting?

The conclusion from these investigations is that adults are not at higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 within the school setting than the risk in the community or household.

What is the effect of school openings on transmission to the community/household?

There is limited evidence that schools are driving transmission of COVID-19 within the community, however there are indications that community transmission is imported into or reflected in the school setting.

There was one outbreak in Israel after school reopening, however the sequence of infection was not reported.  Although Ireland closed schools relatively early in the epidemic, data there suggests that schools would be a minor source of infection for children:

An analysis of the probable origin for transmission of COVID-19 infection in outbreaks that have involved children in Ireland indicated that the most common setting was the home, followed by workplaces, travel and residential institutions, with none of the childhood cases linked to outbreaks in schools.

Evidence from EU/EEA countries that kept pre- and primary schools/day care open or reopened schools early on

The ECDC report includes the following information:

Iceland kept both childcare institutions and primary schools open throughout the spring term and the rates of SARS-CoV-2 in children under 15 years old remained low compared to rates in the older age groups. Physical distancing rules did not apply to childcare institutions and primary school children.

Similarly, the Netherlands did not see a sudden increase in their reproductive number or detect significant outbreaks, when primary schools and childcare facilities opened on 11 May, with moderately high notification rates at national level. Children up to and including 12 years did not have to keep 1.5 metres apart from each other or from adults, and this measure was applied in childcare and primary education settings. Children aged 13 to 18 years did not have to physically distance from one another.

Denmark reopened childcare and primary education on 15 April, with moderately high overall notification rates at national level, and did not report any increase in the reproductive number, or detect important school outbreaks. Denmark recommended splitting classes into smaller groups, keeping two metres between children, hand hygiene, and teaching more classes outside.

Comparison between Sweden and Finland

As in other areas, some of the most useful evidence involves Sweden, which never closed schools for children under 16. In July its Public Health Authority published a report (English version here) comparing COVID-19 in children between Sweden and Finland, where almost all physical school attendance was stopped from mid-March to mid-May. Key findings in the study are:

Closing schools had no measurable effect

There is no difference in the overall incidence of the laboratory confirmed covid-19 cases in the age group 1-19 years in the two countries and the number of laboratory confirmed cases does not fluctuate with school closure or change in testing policy in Finland.[ii]

Closure or not of schools had no measurable direct impact on the number of laboratory confirmed cases in school-aged children in Finland or Sweden.

Transmission by children seems low

Outbreak investigations in Finland have not shown children to be contributing much in terms of transmission:

In the contact tracings in primary schools in Finland, there has been hardly any evidence of children infecting other persons. The Swedish comparison of number of reported cases among staff in day care and primary school to number of cases in other professions does not show any increased risk for teachers.[iii] This also indicates that the role of children in propagating this infection is likely to be small. Various papers on contact tracing have also found that children rarely are the first case in family clusters.

Impacts of school closures on the health and well-being of children

The ECDC report also highlights some negative impacts of school closures on the health and well-being of children, on top of the harm to their education, saying:

A number of organisations have identified various negative impacts on children’s wellbeing, learning opportunities and safety caused by school closures. These range from the interruption of learning and the exacerbation of disparities and mental health issues to an increased risk of domestic violence. The negative impacts particularly affect children from vulnerable and marginalised population groups.

Other health aspects, both physical and mental, also need consideration. For many students living in poverty, schools are not only a place for learning, but also for healthy eating, and therefore researchers warn that school closures will exacerbate food insecurity. Research has highlighted that the active social life that children aged 2–10 years have at school helps them to learn from peers and has a positive impact on their personality and sense of identity, while disruptions of close peer relationships have been associated with depression, guilt, and anger in children. Furthermore, school and extracurricular activities provide structure, meaning and a daily rhythm for children and youth. For those suffering from anxiety and depression, the loss of such activities can worsen symptoms and reinforce social withdrawal and feelings of hopelessness.

Conclusions

The evidence shows that concerns about recommencing physical school attendance are misplaced, at least if moderate social distancing measures (not requiring mask wearing, and only for child-adult contact) are mandated.

It also seems pretty clear that the original decisions by almost all European countries to close schools were, in retrospect, ill-judged measures that caused more harm than good, at least in relation to children under 16 years old.

Nicholas Lewis                       10 September 2020


[i] Based on a survey of EU/EEA and UK countries, 15 of which responded.

[ii] In Sweden, the number of laboratory confirmed cases is affected by change in testing policy.

[iii] The relative risk of teachers catching COVID-19, compared to that in other professions,  was 0.9 for day care, 1.1 for primary school (in neither case being statistically significant), and 0.7 for secondary school (just significantly lower than 1).

Originally posted here, where a pdf copy is also available

76 thoughts on “COVID-19: evidence shows that transmission by schoolchildren is low

  1. Unfortunately, in the UK the teacher’s union does not respond to facts and continue to use Covid19 as a tool to extract concessions from the government. Many teachers seem to be a little more aware and support getting children back to school.

    • Greytide is correct, all these facts miss the point. Just like climate this is not a fact based issue, it is a political one.

      The Dems want to keep schools closed because that prevents people from going to work which extends the economic impacts and helps counter what was a very favourable situation for Trump in January. Just as they have been trying keep the riots going all summer by failing to police them and giving rioters free reign, while blocking Sen. Tim Rice’s bill to reform the police, it is all about November. Dems are quite willing to do all they can to harm the country and then try to spin it into being Trump’s fault.

      The brain dead UK just ape whatever happens in the US so think they have to refuse to open schools too because they don’t like Trump either.

      • There are certainly political forces influencing these decisions, but I think the majority of those wanting excessive restrictions are motivated by irrational fear. Look at the response to nuclear power and “climate change”. Over the last half-century a lot of Americans (and Brits) have become risk-averse and believe that goverment is the solution to risk mitigation. There is a strong correlation between risk-averseness and political affiliation. What the risk-averse don’t often understand is that there are greater risks to giving government more power. The U.S. election this year is exactly about this. Somehow it needs to be conveyed emotionally to the risk-averse (which is what motivates them) how dangerous it is to increase government power.

        • Donald Trump is masterfully connecting on an emotional level how dangerous Leftist government is with ads showing the rioting and destruction from Leftists. Master “influencing” as Scott Adams would say. We’ll see after the election if he succeeds.

    • Spot the BIG LIE from the German government:

      https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.26.2001214?emailalert=true#html_fulltext

      “Figure 2 shows the weekly and cumulative pooled excess all-cause mortality estimates observed during the COVID-19 pandemic in comparison to the previous 4 years, from week 1 to week 18. At the peak level of mortality, in week 14, an excess of 35,802 deaths across all ages was estimated, of which 32,815 (92%) were persons aged ≥ 65 years. In comparison, the highest excess mortality in any week during the previous 4 years reached 16,165 deaths (all ages) in week 2 in 2017, i.e. during the severe 2016/17 influenza season [11]”
      (Figure 2A).
      https://www.eurosurveillance.org/docserver/ahah/fulltext/eurosurveillance/25/26/2001214-f2_thmb.gif

      Most flu’s start in early fall and end in late spring, and flu deaths are typically counted between those dates. Here is the German government fraud:
      The above Figure 2 analysis starts counting flu deaths on January 1, 2020, greatly decreasing the number of flu deaths from seasons other than 2019/2020.

      The real situation is as depicted in Figure 1 – the area under the curve shows total deaths from all causes:
      https://www.eurosurveillance.org/docserver/ahah/fulltext/eurosurveillance/25/26/2001214-f1_thmb.gif

      Covid-19 was no more dangerous than the seasonal flus of 2014/15, 2016/17 and 2017/18 that nobody remembers. The full-Gulag lockdown for Covid-19 was a huge error and probably a fraud.

      • This is nonsense macrae.
        Very few flu infections lead to death. Probably less than 0.1 percent for Covid.
        Excess deaths is no way for comparing flu deaths in fiffetent years. Even the CDC has to wild guess flu deaths because none of their 110 causes of death are “the flu”. For the flu what is more important for comparisons are total hospitalizations and the need for ICU beds … where you find out Covid is worse than any prior influenza in the US except for 1918 … for pain and suffering.

        The effectiveness of the partial lock down is to be determined after this pandemic is over. With people flying into the US there was no real lockdown. Our borders were not blocked. We even let those pesky Canadians in.

        And what is the sense of strangers eating meals in an airplane sitting next to each other but after they land in NYC there is no indoor dining in restaurants even if the tables were six feet apart? … not that the six foot rule is supported by any science.

  2. Conclusion: We must keep US schools closed and provide a (highly) probable lower-quality future to our children because Orange Man bad! No sacrifice is too great because American public is too stupid and too easily mislead to understand it’s the Left – democrats, media, academics – are the ones responsible for schools being closed.

    /extreme sarc

    Seriously, voters in blue states don’t know red states are recovering while their state are not, that blue states have reopened schools and have more people working?

    • Red blue left right rather hard to keep it straight when red used to be blue and blue used to be red.

      Did you mean red states have reopened schools…?

      • Yes, I believe he did mean “red states have reopened schools”

        Yes and No, to the “red use to be blue”. Prior to the 2000 election there was no set electoral color scheme. Each new organization used it’s own color scheme. and it changed from election to election. Eventually the news organizations standardized on a red/blue that alternated each election (so one year a party would get red while the next election cycle they’d get blue.)

        Due to the closeness of the 2000 election, a lot of talking heads were discussing the election maps based on the colors in use that year, which happened to have Red for the Republicans and Blue for the Democrats. Thus the current Red state/Blue state terminology was born.

  3. Interesting. On the other hand, the teachers I know seem to get plenty of common colds from their primary school students. One lady I know used to spend much of her Christmas holidays in bed. I can see why they’re worried.

    On the other other hand, there seems to be a consensus that teachers eventually develop immunity. link

    • Schools are germ factories true. With the Covid though a very high % won’t die. They may get it and recover.

      If I get it, then I am going for the HCQ cocktail

      • For those who are actually hospitalised, there appears to be a much more effective treatment.

        In a recent study a group of hospital patients were treated with a vitamin D metabolite (calcifediol) and compared with a control group. Both groups received HCQ and Azithromycin.

        The effect size was impressive.

        Of 50 patients treated with calcifediol, one required admission to the ICU (2%), while of 26 untreated patients, 13 required admission (50 %) p value X2 Fischer test p < 0.001. Univariate Risk Estimate Odds Ratio for ICU in patients with Calcifediol treatment versus without Calcifediol treatment: 0.02 (95 %CI 0.002−0.17). Multivariate Risk Estimate Odds Ratio for ICU in patients with Calcifediol treatment vs Without Calcifediol treatment ICU (adjusting by Hypertension and T2DM): 0.03 (95 %CI: 0.003-0.25). Of the patients treated with calcifediol, none died, and all were discharged, without complications. The 13 patients not treated with calcifediol, who were not admitted to the ICU, were discharged. Of the 13 patients admitted to the ICU, two died and the remaining 11 were discharged. link

        If this is replicated it is a game changer.

    • Commie, don’t teachers also go shopping, to the movies, to restaurants and bars, to amusement parks, to sports arenas just like everyone? Why assume they would only catch colds from children at school?

    • That would be R=1 if the data is correct. Influenza is much worse and more deadly for the age group in question.

    • You imply that kids can be infected, but not infect their families

      Yes, that can happen. Anecdotally, a friend of my brother has a daughter (high school age) that caught a mild case of COVID (tested positive, no hospitalization). No one else in the family caught it (all tested negative). Now granted, as soon as they were aware that she had it, the family kept their distance (as best one can while living under the same roof) from the sick daughter. So it can and does happen, but a lot depends on what the rest of the family does when a family member comes down with COVID.

    • if you get infected but dont die from it, why the madness then? People get infected from pneumonia/flu too and there are no madness lockdowns and mask mandates. Both have IFR close to .1-.2%(covid likely higher but CDC guidance for classifying covid deaths certainly muddied up the waters) and both seem to kill mainly comorbid elderly (although flu/pneumonia also kills kids under 5 at a higher rate as far as I can tell). So why the difference in how we deal with them? it’s not because its novel – that’s a lie. Much more likely it’s due to orange man bad syndrome.

  4. The teachers union is demanding that

    The government protect them for the hazards of life
    while at the same time demanding they get paid with taxpayer money

    The mindset of the public sector (the Public sector industrial complex which Eisenhower warned us)

  5. Schools been open here in western PA for a couple of weeks, so far no chi’drens have exploded or spontaneously burst into flu flavored flames. On the other hand teachers union reps are screeching&wailing and wanting ALL education shutdown and their members paid, with hazard bonus and overtime, for doing nothing. One was on a Pittsburgh TV news interview practically in tears because she and her minions are actually having to do the jobs they are very well paid to do. The horror!

    • Fear is the most effective emotion used by propagandists. It works like a virus infecting the susceptible. Unfortunately, a large fraction of the population is susceptible.

      • Yep, that is why I am glad so many people are becoming fearful of the Democrat Party and the left, and every time they burn another business and kill another cop and rape another woman the fear of left and Democrat Party grows. The propaganda spew is at the point it is simply numbing people instead of scaring them, the nightly Burn Loot Murder fests are what is creating fear now, and Democrats/celebrities/media refuse to condemn any of it. People see all this in-spite of “news media” refusing to cover it.

        • Two cops were ambushed last night in Compton. A few thugs came to the hospital where the cops are fighting for their life to protest and to wish that they die. All quite sick.

          • Is that a juvenile or female? Something funny about the legs, very short. Looks like female Charlie Chaplin impersonator.

            Note arms are raised upwards to aim cops who are seated.

            Also something about the run looks female to me, arms flailing. Suspect appears white.

          • A juvenile is someone not old enough to be held legally responsible or generally immature and not fully developed. That is what it looks like. Teenager runs up to the day before 20 y.o. and includes adults. That’s not what I meant.

            I’m still thinking female but looks like someone with unusually short legs. Maybe the funny walk is because of the way they go around with their pants half down now. Makes it hard to run properly, I guess.

          • Others have suggested short female from the gait. Men do not run with elbows out, that is typically female.

            LA county just offered 100k for info. saying black male 28-30.
            I wonder where the very narrow age comes from. Did the cops radio a description when called for assistance?

  6. A much higher percent of kids that catch covid are aysmptomatic

    The kids are Asymptomatic because their bodies are doing a much better job controlling the virus (not sure why, but the level of infection is much lower, hence being Asymptomactic.

    As such, being Asymptomatic, they are significantly less infectious than a symptomatic individual – because they are asymptomatic

    An additional point is delaying exposure to the kids is only retarding the development of their immune system. The delay/retarding the development of the kids immune system will have far greater long term damage than the damage caused by covid

    • Joe I am started to wonder if the tests are bad. I heard an interview of a woman in Canada,I think, who can’t go back to work in the nursing home because she keeps failing the Covid test. 🤔

      • the pcr tests arent bad per se, just very oversensitive. People are testing positive with minute amounts of infection.

        • This is due to using too many reproduction cycles. I have not seen actual figures on who is doing what but apparently they are often running to 40 cycles. This makes them way too sensitive.

          Maybe there was a decision that false +ve was less important the false -ve , or they’re just out to maintain the state of fear and control.

      • I spoke with a man the other day whose wife is doctor at hospital in Houston. According to him one of the nurses at the hospital his wife works at, can’t go back to work because she has tested positive for 2 months now. She feels fine.

  7. The evidence shows that concerns about recommencing physical school attendance are misplaced…

    Not if the agenda is political.

  8. The unions in the UK are well to the left of Pol Pot.

    They are still trying to adjust to the rout of the Corbynistas.

    Anything put forward – anything put forward – by the Tories must be rejected out of hand, no matter how sensible it might be. (So far they haven’t put anything sensible or logical forward)

    The irony is Boris the Clown has borrowed and spent way more than Corbyn ever proposed to spend on nationalising everything.

  9. teachers union, living off of other people’s taxes, getting check sent to the house and don’t have to bother working for it. Of course they don’t want the kids back in school, that begins to resemble working for OP muney.

    • That’s pretty much the case for most government workers in the U.S. right now, not that most worked that hard for their pay before CV-19.

    • Yes you right meiggs…I would rather see pay increases for danger pay and OT go to nurses, and the front line emergency services that keep our countries and health systems going. The teachers have been led down a one way road by their unions and curriculum agenda of socialism and brainwashing of our kids on numerous subjects, climate change alarmism one of the biggest lies they teach. It’s time to get tough on the teachers unions and call them out on their malfeasance. And their cowardice to do their job, as compared to the nurses who do face far more risk to themselves and their families. Shame on the teachers.

  10. We live very close to 2 private , ie “posh” primary schools and halfway between 2 grammar schools , state funded but with extremely stringent entrance tests. At the start of the lock down in Spring these schools were continuing to operate whilst nationally other schools were closing, and the girl’s prep school was noticeably the first to open after the summer holiday.
    In a few years’s time when admissions to the top universities are scrutinised the usual cry will go up about unfair preference for privately schooled and grammar school children , compared to pupils from disadvataged backgrounds and poorer suburbs. Some of this is probably fair comment, but the teachers in the poorer, and inevitably strongly Labour, areas are doing their pupils no good at all by denying those children the chance to compete academically with those with richer parents and in better-off areas .
    It would be hopeless though to expect a minister of education in this hapless Govt to understand that point, and so the apparent discrimination will continue and get worse.

    • You’re optimistic. The alternative could be that admission is based on skin color, not character, not competency.

      • “based on skin color, not character, not competency.” That has been going on at many colleges, and throughout USG, for quite some time.

      • Diversity dogma denies individual dignity, denies individual conscience, normalizes color blocs, color quotas, and affirmative discrimination. Diversity progresses with systems, processes, and beliefs founded on color judgments, not limited to racism and sexism. Diversity is a principle of the ostensibly “secular” Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic, politically congruent (“=”) quasi-religion adopted by the Progressive Church.

  11. and there we have it…
    The longer one spends eating the nutrient deficient tasteless & carcinogenic mush that passes for a Plant Based Diet – the more likely this thing or ‘most any other slightly toxic thing will kill you.
    Not = Rocket Science

    Of course we all know that The Solution to Globoal Warnmig Canhge is to eat ever more plants at the expense of real food
    (The notion of which is genetically programmed into us all but expressed most strongly in folks who know no different = kids)

    Of course the high fibre plant diet will fix Global Changing Warm – NOBODY will be there to see it.
    Either way.
    But which will give out first – us or all the plant life on this Earth?

    NOW we understand why no Extraterrestrials have contacted us – they too believed that clouds cause warming as they chowed down vegetative mush

  12. Teachers want the closures because they get full pay & benefits while only working a few hours per week.

    Teacher unions want this because if the teachers get full pay the unions get full dues payments.

    The Democrat party wants this because full dues payments means the transfer of the full amount of union campaign contributions, and since the teachers have so much free time, the teachers have more time available to work the union get-out-the-democrat-vote phone bank for the November election.

    Like “climate change” the COVID response never had anything to do with science–just politics and money.

  13. According to the Society of Pediatrics France:

    “French data confirms the benignity of the infection in children (severe cases and deaths are extremely rare); Children under 15 years of age represent less than 1% of intensive care admissions as of 5/04 in France and no child under 15 has died of COVID in France. A death occurred in a 16-year-old girl.” (I believe a 6 year old boy has also died since with multiple comorbities).

    “It was initially believed that children could be important transmitters and play a key role in the spread of the virus. In view of the current data (August 2020), children do not appear to be “super transmitters”. In fact, data from grouped case studies, particularly within the family, have shown transmission from adults to children much more frequently than the reverse ( Zhu et al , Su et al ).”

    “A CDC (Control disease Center, USA) article published in August 2020 on their site studied the characteristics of children hospitalised for COVID in 14 states in the United States between March 1 and July 25, 2020. The hospitalisation rate for COVID was 8 per 100,000 inhabitants versus 164 for adults. Among the 208 of the 576 children for whom the data were detailed, one in 3 children required intensive care. One patient died. 38% of hospitalised children were obese. Hospitalisation rates were greatest among Hispanic or African American children.”

  14. The teacher’s unions are demanding an increase to their already bloated funding as well as the institution of every socialist, oops, I meant DemoKKKrat, party plank including the Green Raw Deal before they will deign to let their members start earning their pay checks again by actually teaching children!
    Meanwhile, parents are struggling with trying to find a path through the economic minefield created by hair-on-fire politicians,and what to do with their kids; who are seeing large increases in depression, violence, suicide and abuse! Maybe reopening schools will benefit everyone, even the teachers!
    On the plus side, I understand these unions are recommending that parents sit down and watch the uplifting show “Cuties” with their children, then ask them if they have any questions or doubts about their sexuality! That should help smooth out any rough spots! High s/!

  15. Teachers always complain about a hard job and not enough pay. Yet at least in Canada new grads are lined up around the block to get teachers jobs. If such a hard job with little pay then why is supply so high ?

    • Stevek, the answer to your question was supplied by the immortal GBS over a century ago: “Those that can, do; those that can’t, teach

      OK, witty epigrams don’t always convey a lot of wisdom, but if it was marginally true in 1903, it’s way more true now.

      Too many new grads are in the “can’t” category, thanks to being taught by those who couldn’t, who in turn were taught by those who couldn’t, all the way back to about 1965. That was the year when teachers who actually “could” became an endangered species.

      The 1960s were the time when “teaching” became a subject of study in itself, when future teachers were learning how to teach, according to the egalitarian or progressive theory of the day, as opposed to learning what to teach.

      And it’s not just in Canada, although we are especially blessed by having OISE, whose progressive theories of education have spread illiteracy, innumeracy and ignorance like a plague through generations of kids who really deserved better.

      My addendum to GBS: “and those that can’t teach, get elected to Parliament” You read it here first!.

      * Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Bastards.

  16. Perhaps the school closings were a mistake made by the the designer-brain heirarchy. I say heirarchy because ordinary teachers are hopelessly unaware of the role cast for them by the sinistral elite. Time with families would break the chain. Many families undertook education of their children.

    Perhaps this is the big upside to the self goal scored by the NWO folk with the shutdown

  17. The young are very little affected, the old are severely impacted. It is doing a disservice to the young to prevent them from fighting the infection now, when they are young. This virus, or a similar one, will come along later when they are old and less able to resist.

  18. There is always risk in life. There is more risk of bad outcomes for children if they do not get an education.

    There are surely very few teachers over the age of 65 and most are under 50.

    So where’s the problem? A small fraction of teachers and staff with underlying health conditions may need to be accommodated.

    Then there remains one reasonable concern. Children, teachers, and staff who live with vulnerable people will also need some accommodation. It should not be an insurmountable problem to address. Temporary housing arrangements for the vulnerable person might be necessary. If a household member becomes symptomatic there should be a place for them to go during recovery to isolate from their vulnerable housemate. It needn’t be hospital care or anything much more than checking into a hotel room.

    If a little common sense were applied there would be no crisis.

  19. Nice article by Nic highlighting the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control report.

    However, I am always suspicious of reports that make extraordinary claims with no extraordinary proof.
    Every other infectious disease known to mankind, children play a large role in transmission. What we are being told to believe that Covid 19 is different. That may well be the case, but an explanation of why children don’t transmit the disease would be helpful, but this is the science of “I dunno”.

    As far as I can tell all the data was collected when schools were basically nearly empty, the UK only opened a tiny proportion, just 2 primary year groups who attended on alternate days. Great big open spaces no crowding, no contact, no assemblies, no school canteen etc.

    Any setting or area of pointless human activity, devoid of all the people, with nobody about, will have a very low transmission rate. A football stadium, with hardly anybody in it, has a very low risk of transmission, fill the football stadium up, and the picture changes.

    However I must admit to some bias, as my school days in the 60’s were filled with bullying, mental and physical violence from the Teaching Staff, one actually knocked me out for no reason whatsoever, and some of my fellow pupils were even worse.

    I succeeded despite my education, not because of it.

    Anyway, evidence on whether children’s mental health is better when schools are open or better when schools are closed is rather mixed.

    • We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Teacher, leave them kids alone!

    • +1

      There is some evidence that children <10y are transmitting the virus less. Teenagers are nearly indifferent to adults. Sweden had daycares and primary schools open but the older classes of high schools closed.

      In Israel high schools were the drivers not primary schools.

      My unproven guess: if aerosols are the main way of transmission the amount of air in- and exhaled would be an important variable in this equation. Little children have just a way smaller lung volume not getting so much load in and out therefore reducing their risk to get it but also to share it.

    • Every other infectious disease known to mankind, children play a large role in transmission

      And with most other infectious diseases, children are in the groups that tend to be hardest hit. That alone makes COVID different. Perhaps the reasons that the children don’t get hit as hard as adults by this disease is the same reasons why children are alleged to spread it less. If their immune systems are doing a better job combatting the disease then that leaves them with less disease particles to spread, relatively speaking.

      • They also play a large role is diluting such illnesses, as is happening with Chinese Disease right now. It spreads, it weakens, it dies out. Unless something keeps it strong, like not letting people with healthy immune systems get it. Or it was “modified” in some way to remain virulent and strong. That does not seem to be the case in spite of what the Disciples of Brother John Birch and the LaRouchees have to say on the subject.

  20. Regardless of how the kids’ immune systems handle Covid, they will be vectors for the disease. The opening post doesn’t ring true.

    The virus remains viable on anything the kids bring home. https://www.webmd.com/lung/how-long-covid-19-lives-on-surfaces. According to U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, we know that other coronaviruses remain viable:

    Metal (doorknobs, jewelry, silverware), 5 days
    Wood (furniture, decking) 4 days
    Plastics (milk containers, subway and bus seats, backpacks) 2 to 3 days
    Stainless steel (refrigerators, sinks) 2 to 3 days
    Aluminum (soda cans, tinfoil, water bottles) 2 to 8 hours
    Glass (drinking glasses, measuring cups, mirrors, windows) Up to 5 days
    Paper (mail, newspaper) some strains of coronavirus live for only a few minutes on paper, while others live for up to 5 days.
    Skin and hair, There’s no research yet on exactly how long the virus can live on your skin or hair, but the rhinoviruses, which cause colds, can survive for hours.

    And the school classrooms ARE good transmission points for the disease. I’m all in favor of every school opening for face-to-face indoctrination. (Maybe union-dominated faculties SHOULD stay home). But we should anticipate spikes. Good systems for contact tracing and isolating should be in place. And district leaders should be lobying for immediate access to daily rapid test mechanisms.

    • So Bill,
      What you’re saying is: “I don’t care what the studies and science shows; I’m right, and you’re not! The Icelandic study was pretty robust in tracking where the virus was spread from. They found the incidence of spread FROM children was statistically zero!
      The virus spreads by a number of vectors apparently but cowering in your home and hoping to avoid it does not seem to be a viable solution. You’re welcome to try it however, but teachers that don’t want to teach for whatever reason should find another line of work! Maybe they can learn how to code!

      • Regarding “the Icelandic study”, maybe you could provide a link. In a Google search I found one study where Icelanders have been doing a longitudinal analysis of new cases, identifying the haplotypes of the virus within individuals. As I understand it, this kind of analysis can trace strains and therefore isolate sources of the virus. They found that a growing number of cases is coming from within families rather than from “unknown” sources. Almost 40% of the new cases were arising within families.

        Also, I’ve seen graphs recently (WSJ, Sept. 9), showing that cases of covid-19 are increasing among the 0-19-year old age group. As of Aug. 16, that cohort makes up 16% of overall cases in the States, up from only 3% in April. Children now comprise as many of the overall cases as the 60-80+ age groups, and appeared to be growing. The overall death rates from the virus, I realize, are ticking down.

        I don’t believe there is any evidence to show that school aged children cannot be carriers even if they are asymptomatic. They should be back in classes.

        What kinds of schools they return to and whether this fight you’re waging is worthwhile in view of the quality of their schools and education is another matter you may want to consider. Some parents with the means are opting for “remote instruction” so they can actually home school their their kids in the lull between their school teachers’ scintillating class lessons.

      • What kinds of schools they return to and whether this fight you’re waging is worthwhile in view of the quality of their schools and education is another matter you may want to consider.

        Good point Bill, and for affluent parents who can afford to teach at home, not sending their kids to the indoctrinations centers is probably a good thing. Unfortunately, for many poorer families, the schools (bad as they can be) are the best shot those kids have of getting any kind of education as the parents don’t have the means or the ability to teach them at home.

  21. Unfortunately the current ‘second wave’ in Australia is the counter-example. One of the main clusters starting this second wave was the Al-Taqwa College, a primary and high school in Melbourne, where one infected individual spread it to more than 180 of the 2,200 children and staff. From there it was carried to the children’s families and further into the community.

  22. Thank you.

    … acquisition of vitamin D drops was associated with a significant decrease in risk OR=0.905 (95% CI
    0.848-0.967), and acquisition of vitamin D tablets was associated with a significant increase in risk …

    Say what!

      • Ah, was wondering what you were on about there. A response to one of his vacuous drive-by posts. I don’t bother with drive-by links. If he can’t be bothered to say what and why he’s linking to something I’m not going to be bothered trying to figure it out for him.

  23. This virus is a bad cold. I know, ,I have had it. It knocked me out for nearly a month. I’m 71 and fit. My children, 10yo, probably caught it but showed very little symptoms. My wife has lupus and is on Hydroxychloroquine and she also had little problems with it. Interestingly the age profile of deaths from this disease is almost exactly the same as for normal deaths, what with the comorbidities on those dying with a positive test, I would say most of these folks would have died anyway. The more we test the more cases we will find. Will this absurdity never end. My children are back at school and loving it. Teachers are happy but careful. I know, I’m a governor.

  24. It may be of interest that pupils in Scotland (part of the UK, for those who don’t know where Scotland is) have been back at school for now for several weeks. In my part of Scotland they went back on Wednesday 12 August.
    Are there actually people who don’t know where Scotland is? Yes.
    Genuine conversation some years ago with an American lady.
    AL: Where are you from?
    Me: Scotland.
    AL: Where’s Scotland?
    Oh, and most teachers in Scotland do not belong to the “UK” teachers union people have been referring to. Teachers in Scotland have their own unions. That doesn’t mean they are any better, of course.

    • In my experience pretty much all teachers unions (and unions in general – at least in free modern nations) are pretty bad, having long since outlived their purpose and devolved into purely (usually far left-wing) political organizations

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