by Phil Kerpen
Excerpt from The Daily Caller
Locking kids out of school for months (over a year and counting in some places) is likely to be by far the biggest policy blunder of the pandemic era. One study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that missing just the first two months of elementary school will result in a loss of 13.8 million years of life, because there is a strong relationship between education and life expectancy. Other studies have shown a gap of five years in life expectancy between high school graduates and drop-outs, which are likely to spike dramatically with large urban districts reporting many high school students never logged on to remote learning. In years-of-life-lost terms, school closures may well prove more deadly than coronavirus.
But because school closures have essentially no effect on the spread of the virus, there is not even a tradeoff between the two. Extended school closures simply layer catastrophic educational, social, and health harms on top of the virus harms that happen anyway. School closures have nearly no effect on virus transmission because children are less likely to be infected than adults and less infectious when they are infected. This is true even with schools operating completely normally, as they did in Sweden throughout the pandemic. The New England Journal of Medicine published results showing 15 total pediatric ICU admissions out of 1.95 million children in Sweden with zero deaths. Schoolteachers had age-adjusted risk 57 percent lower than the overall population.
This is unsurprising, because it was clear by February 2020 that the coronavirus overwhelmingly spares children, for whom it is less dangerous than influenza, and that therefore adults in school buildings were at lower, not higher, than typical occupational risk. Now that vaccination has been offered teachers have the option to further reduce their risk to near zero. By April 2020 we had strong evidence from Europe that schools could open — without masking or other extraordinary measures — without any impact on community spread. Schools closed and stayed closed not to advance public health interests but out of panic — and that panic was stoked and exploited by teachers unions.
Read more atThe Daily Caller
Photo Credit:Alejandro (Alex) Quinones, Flickr, CC 2.0