School Closings and Lockdowns

By January 12, 2021Commentary

The first paper deals with schools and their role in transmission and was published in the journal Pediatrics.  (Ped. Article)   The study looked at 11 school districts in North Carolina which had been open for 9 weeks of in-person (i.e., real) education.  The researchers attempted to ascertain levels of within-school transmission.  Over 90,000 students and staff were included.  773 of these persons, or less than 1%, had a positive test.  The associated infections were community acquired.  There were 32 additional infections which were the result of school transmission.  There was not a single case of child to adult transmission.  This study again shows the extremely low risk of allowing in-person school attendance.  On the other hand we are damaging, potentially irreparably, the lives of tens of millions of school-age children by denying them the benefits of in-person schooling, all to cater to the capricious whims of teacher unions and politicians.  Utterly disgraceful, and once more, I would call for an investigation and potential criminal investigation of the persons responsible for this situation.  We are supposed to care so much for our children but it is clear that many teachers, union leaders, administrators and politicians care a lot more about protecting against a negligible threat to their own health, while ignoring immense harm to children.  And the politicians, including our Governor, only care about the contributions they get from the unions.

The second is from a team included Jay Bhattacharya and John Ioannidis and they examined supposed benefits of lockdown interventions.  (EJCI Article)   The authors compared the effect on case growth of “less-restrictive” and “more-restrictive” non-pharmaceutical interventions (which by the way, is a euphemism for actions that close businesses, schools and other activities and that restrict the freedom of citizens).  Their method was designed to isolate the impact of more-restrictive interventions from normal epidemic dynamics.  They used ten countries, most from Europe, the US, Iran and South Korea, to test the effects.  Sweden and South Korea had the lightest set of restrictions.  Enacting some form of interventions was associated with a modest effect on case growth.  Enacting the more restrictive ones was not associated with lower cases, in fact in France it appeared to be associated with faster case growth.  I continue to say just look at the case curves and it is apparent that these mitigation measures simply don’t make much difference in outcomes.

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Matt says:

    The school study is encouraging, but it seems to be heavy on the assumption that masks made a difference. That MN is requiring children to wear masks during physical education and sports is very concerning to me. I don’t think it reflects a full review of the risks / benefits and I fear that studies like this will be cited by the mask faithful. Thanks for your continued excellent and tireless work to keep us all up to date!

  • dirtyjobsguy says:

    Here in Connecticut I have the fun opportunity to get the NY Post delivered daily. It’s always an upbeat start to the day. They have the opportunity to constantly tweak Gov Cuomo and Mayor DiBlasio on why Teachers who get the vaccine must show up to teach! Interestingly there is a lot of griping from teachers in private (Catholic and others) and Charters schools who showed up to class now have trouble getting vaccinated with some fraction of the public school teachers hogging the lines.

    The trouble with lockdowns and priorty lists is that outside of some obvious and generally accepted groups the micromanagement of public health does nothing but increase resentment and bickering.

  • Harley says:

    We can only hope the demise of the teacher’s unions has started and the end comes soon. Many, many stories of irate parents, and many stories of weak classroom results.

    But they don’t care. Union just wants more dues to be paid, and for members to be added. As always, follow the money.

  • MIKE TIMMER says:

    I offer this link about the responses to the virus only for the logical thought process, the decision tree as it were, and not for any religious content. At the very least, based on the observation that we’ll all end up in the same place as you have said, Kevin, this exercise in philosophy could be salutary for mental health and for our personal behavior going forward. I believe most of those as old as you and I will most probably nod in agreement. So here, from Catholic Culture: https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/what-if-everyone-will-eventually-be-covid-positive/

  • Cliff Hadley says:

    Mr. Timmer… Great article. I’m writing an op-ed on that same premise, only worded differently: What should we do to extend the life for just a single day for those who catch Covid? My answer: living normally. As Mr. Roche and others following this site know, it’s daunting dealing with people who believe they can “defeat” Covid. They get furious when I tell them they don’t control the virus, the virus controls them.

  • MIKE TIMMER says:

    Mr. Hadley, I’d like to read that op ed if it’s available because it may help me to frame the situation as we see it in terms other than the ones I’m using now to promote it. I take every opportunity I can to gently persuade, one person at a time, since I don’t have a public presence. I also don’t find many who even want to listen…they’re willing to just ride it out. At 72 years of age, still healthy and active, I feel a dread for the young especially because they can’t imagine how drastically life is going to permanently change going into their future.

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