REPORT: Two Top U.K. Epidemiologists Say That Children May Not Be Spreading Coronavirus As Much As Adults

Written by K. Walker on May 19, 2020

Does this mean that school closures were unnecessary?

As many around the world are entering the third month of lockdown, many world leaders are trying to figure out when exactly children can return to school.

This is a key factor in being able to get the world back to a semblance of normalcy. Besides, with school used by so many dual-working families as a de facto daycare spreading government propaganda rather than an institution of learning, when kids go back to school, parents can go back to work. It is therefore in the governments’ interest to get those kiddos back into the indoctrination centers as fast as possible. (I’ll save my rant on why private schools, charter schools, or homeschooling are far preferable options for another day.)

As with many places in Europe and North America, almost all states in the U.S. have public schools closed for the rest of the academic year. 

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The issue is whether or not children are at risk from the novel coronavirus, or if they are spreading it to those who are in high-risk categories as is the case with the seasonal flu.

Two epidemiologists in the United Kingdom says that, surprisingly, preliminary results show that children are less infectious and may not be spreading the virus as much as adults.

The signs are that children may not spread it as much as adults, Dr Rosalind Eggo, who is on committees that advise the British government on its infectious disease response, told members of parliament’s upper house.

“We think that children are less likely to get it so far but it is not certain, we are very certain that children are less likely to have severe outcomes and there are hints that children are less infectious but it is not certain,” said Eggo of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

As encouraging as that is, the report came with some pretty horrific news as well, that human immunity to the novel coronavirus may not last very long.

Still, let’s try to focus on the positive. Despite the fearmongering media, kids are relatively safe.

In testimony before the House of Lords’ science committee, John Edmunds, a member of Britain’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said that children didn’t seem to play much of a role in spreading the novel coronavirus.

“It is unusual that children don’t seem to play much of a role in transmission because for most respiratory viruses and bacteria they play a central role, but in this they don’t seem to,” said Edmunds, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“There is only one documented outbreak associated with a school – which is amazing,” Edmunds said.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

This means that school closures may not have been necessary.

While state governments made the decisions to simply shut down the school year entirely, our neighbors up north took a different approach, and Canadian provinces are moving at different rates to reopen schools.

Since the U.S. has stayed locked down with regard to schools, it behooves us to see how our fellow North Americans are handling reopening during a pandemic.

While most Canadian schools have moved to online learning options, some provinces have decided that schools will be closed for the remainder of the academic year, others are evaluating, one has schools open only for children of “essential workers,” and one has decided to test the waters and reopen if parents want to send their kids.

The province of Quebec in Canada reopened some public elementary schools in certain regions last week despite having the highest number of COVID cases in the country.

Check out the measures that Quebec schools have implemented for the May 11 reopening:

This seems both excessive and expensive in addition to being a kind of awful experience for students.

And with the new report, perhaps entirely unnecessary.

Clearly, these kinds of changes wouldn’t be feasible in the congested, metropolises that are found in the U.S., and even in rural areas could be tricky.

It’s also very early in Quebec’s foray into reopening schools to see what the result is.

We don’t know what the future holds, but we clearly cannot continue this way forever. We’ve got to start opening up and that means taking precautions where we need to and relaxing restrictions where we need to.

Maybe opening up schools are a good first step–at least, that’s what the report from the experts seems to be saying right now.

ClashDaily's Associate Editor since August 2016. Self-described political junkie, anti-Third Wave Feminist, and a nightmare to the 'intersectional' crowd. Mrs. Walker has taken a stand against 'white privilege' education in public schools. She's also an amateur Playwright, former Drama teacher, and staunch defender of the Oxford comma. Follow her humble musings on Twitter: @TheMrsKnowItAll