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Adding to the expanding list of medical professionals and researchers advocating for keeping public schools open, Emily Oster, Professor of Economics at Brown University, stated in October, “Fears from the summer appear to have been overblown.”
In her article entitled, “Schools Aren’t Super-Spreaders,” published in The Atlantic on 9 October, Professor Brown notes how the media induced fear over kids returning to school: “The New York Times reported that, in parts of Georgia, a school of 1,000 kids could expect to see 20 or 30 people arrive with COVID-19 during week one.”
The public has been sold the unscientific line that school infections would balloon and spread outward to the broader community, triggering new waves. On social media, people shared pictures of high schools with crowded hallways and no masking as if to say, “I told you so.”
But, as Professor Brown had written,

“It’s now October. We are starting to get an evidence-based picture of how school re-openings and remote learning are going and the evidence is pointing in one direction. Schools do not, in fact, appear to be major spreaders of COVID-19… Since early last month I’ve been working with a group of data scientists at the technology company Qualtrics, as well as with school principal and superintendent associations to collect data on COVID-19 in schools.

Our data on almost 200,000 kids in 47 states from the last two weeks of September revealed an infection rate of 0.13 percent among students and 0.24 percent among staff. That’s about 1.3 infections over two weeks in a school of 1,000 kids, or 2.2 infections over two weeks in a group of 1,000 staff. Even in high-risk areas of the country, the student rates were well under half a percent.”

Professor Brown notes that data out of Texas confirms the overblown fear over COVID in schools. She cites a study showing just 0.14 percent of students infected with an adult-staff infection rate of just 0.10 percent.
Is the U.S. Ready for “Realistic Expectations?”
Professor Brown then adds a crucial insight ignored by the mainstream press more interested in hyping anxiety:

“These numbers are not zero, which for some people means the numbers are not good enough. But zero was never a realistic expectation. We know that children can get COVID-19, even if they do tend to have less serious cases. Even if there were no spread in schools, we’d see some cases, because students and teachers can contract the disease off campus. But the numbers are small – smaller than what many had forecasted.”

Data from Florida and Georgia support the same conclusion. While CNN was touting headline stories about spikes in infections (example from 11 August: “Florida’s COVID-10 cases in children have increased 137 percent in past month”), Professor Brown notes,

“In places such as Florida, preliminary data haven’t shown big community spikes as a result of school openings. Rates in Georgia have continued to decline over the past month… I’ve read many stories about outbreaks at universities, and vanishingly few about outbreaks at the K-12 level.”

She concludes,

“I hope more schools and districts will see these data, and others, and perhaps start to think about how reopening might work. We do not want to be cavalier or put people at risk. But by not opening, we are putting people at risk, too.”

TRENDPOST: Despite the clear scientific data emerging, which should be allaying fears about young kids returning to school, Professor Brown points to governors like New York’s Andrew Cuomo, who either ignore or are ignorant of the facts. On 5 October, Governor Cuomo announced the shutting down of hundreds of public schools, including Pre-K and child care centers.
As reported at the time, on issuing his shutdown edict, Governor Cuomo proclaimed, “I said to the parents of this state, I will not allow your child to be sent to any school that I would not send my child, period, and you have my personal word.”
Note (Dictator) Cuomo’s language: “I will not allow your child to be sent to any school,” a.k.a. “Taxpayers of Slavelandia, you have no Rights, and you will not Think for Yourself, period.”
As Chalkbeat, the non-profit news organization that focuses on education issues, reported at the time, Cuomo’s shutdown is “likely to throw off schedules and child care plans for thousands of working families who had chosen to send their children back to school for part of the week. It’s also a letdown for teachers and students eager to return to classrooms.”
As The New York Times reported last Friday, “Schools have so far been a bright spot for New York. Only 0.17 percent of tests conducted in over 2,800 schools over the last month came back positive.”
TRENDPOST: Beyond Cuomo, political arrogance persists throughout America and across the globe. The people are told what to do, when to do it, and what to believe. As we noted in last week’s Trends Journal, Angela Merkel, the supreme ruler of Germany, demeaned the peasants for opposing her lockdown dictates, saying her measures were met with “doubts, skepticism, and hostility” and that the “virus punishes half-heartedness.”
Demonstrating the powerlessness of the people, Ms. Merkel “urged” citizens to accept the rules because they “don’t have any other option.”

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