Two factors in a pandemic that grab everyone’s attention are the mortality and infectiousness of a disease. Diseases such as Ebola, Cholera, and bubonic plague are listed in the Top Ten or Top Twenty Pandemics. They spread quickly and killed many.
Today, we can identify how a disease spreads faster than at any time in history. However, it takes time, and diseases such as COVID-19 can spread from one country to another before they can be contained.
We also know that the lethality of coronavirus varies with age. The death rate is the highest among older adults. Children, on the other hand, appear almost immune.
Kids Under 10 Years of Age
https://www.healthline.com/health-news/study-finds-kids-under-10-unlikely-to-spread-coronavirus-at-school. Scientists have discovered that kids are much less likely to get infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus; and, additionally, are almost unable to spread the virus.
Israel opened schools last September despite the pandemic situation. A surge in coronavirus infections caused the government to shut down the school system a month later. Thirty days later, the schools opened again.
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2778940?utm_source=For_The_Media&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ftm_links&utm_term=042621. Young children (9 years old and younger) were found to be safe from getting the virus and passing it on to others. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) and the COVID-19 test positivity rate (TPR) were analyzed to determine the impact on school-aged children.
Nearly 50,000 children under the age of nine had the lowest IRR and TPR. Over 100,000 children aged 10-19 had IRR and TPR rates three times those younger.
What Does This Mean?
https://www.npr.org/2020/10/21/925794511/were-the-risks-of-reopening-schools-exaggerated. Israel is a small country with restricted access. Did the pandemic affect kids under ten years of age the same regardless of country? That is hard to say because studies were not done to the same level of detail. Even in Israel, the personal protections of school-age children were not discussed.
However, some studies help define the pandemic risks with younger children. Spain is an example. Schools reopened, and one school showed no increase in the number of positive cases of COVID-19. Another showed the positive test rate to be equal with the surrounding areas. A third school had high rates of positive tests for coronavirus.
Through contact tracing, rapid testing, and public access to pandemic data, scientists determined the paths for increased infections. The scientific conclusion was that schools reopening did not affect the spread of the pandemic virus. https://education.org/facts-and-insights#f09a6e46-8c5f-4d01-8297-d2a3f6c8f873 is a collection of student data from 191 countries during 2020. Closing schools did not decrease the rate of infection. Opening schools did not increase the spread of the virus.
Thailand and South Africa opened classrooms when their country’s infection rates were low, and school infections remained unchanged. Vietnam and Gambia had high coronavirus infection rates during the summer, and the rates dropped when schools opened in September. Japan saw similar results – schools did not affect the spread of COVID-19. https://statsiq.co1.qualtrics.com/public-dashboard/v0/dashboard/5f78e5d4de521a001036f78e#/dashboard/5f78e5d4de521a001036f78e?pageId=Page_c0595a5e-9e70-4df2-ab0c-14860e84d36a is a good source of student/faculty COVID-19 infections.
Schools are not driving the spread of COVID-19. Yes, infections occur in schools, but at a lower rate than in the general population. The younger the child, the less likely they will become infected or infect others. As children move up and through their teens, the infection rates increase, but not at the general population level.
Schools appear to mitigate the spread of the disease. Social settings outside the school environment negate the school-imposed restrictions. A similar statement can be made for faculty. Infected staff members cannot be connected with school environment infection consistently. Social activities outside the classroom increase the rate of infection for faculty and staff members.
Health authorities will continue to push pandemic personal restrictions (handwashing, social distance, face masks, etc.) regardless of age.
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