Who is dying from COVID-19?
Ask the World Health Organization (WHO): “COVID-19 impacts the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions most severely.”
Yet, when fighting the COVID War, like most others, politicians and mainstream media sell lies and fear rather than truth and facts.
And now there is the great debate as to whether or not to send children back to school.
In March, when the coronavirus panic first spread out of China and across the globe, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) estimated the global shutdown of schools caused some 1.5 billion children to begin schooling from home, which is over 91 percent of all children.
And yet, by the end of June, Science magazine reported over 20 countries had reopened schools. (Sweden, Taiwan, and Nicaragua had not closed their schools.) In addition, day care centers in those dozens of countries were open and, for the most part, outbreaks were rare.
As stated in a 29 July article in Time,
“Research into French primary schools released in June found no evidence of transmission by children in schools; and research from Iceland published in April found that children under 10 were less likely to test positive for the virus than those over 10. Another small study published in July, based on data from hospitals in the Chinese cities of Wuhan and Qingdao, found that, among 68 pediatric COVID-19 patients, 96% were infected by another adult in their household, and there was no evidence that the children transmitted the virus to others.”
In addition to data coming in on the success of many countries reopening schools without causing significantly increased outbreaks of the virus, studies such as one published on 30 June in the JAMA Health Forum underscore the significant consequences of keeping students home, including “regressions in academic gains, increase in rates of depression and anxiety and lack of oversight for children suffering from food insecurity and disabilities.”
The Weill Cornell Medicine website states, “27 million U.S. parents depend on school for childcare, and are limited in going back to work if their children are learning from home.”
The authors of the study add, “In the United States alone, approximately 36 million workers have become unemployed, and more than 50 million children are out of school for the remaining academic year.”
Fear not Facts
Despite the negative repercussions of keeping children home from school, the fear factor in the U.S. continues to dominate. An example is the New York Times headline in its 30 July “Education” section: “States Saved Thousands of Lives by Closing Schools in Spring, Study Says.”
The study, however, notes, “These figures do not account for uncertainty in the model assumptions and the resulting estimates.”
Dr. Julie Donahue, Professor of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, co-wrote an editorial responding to the above study. In the study, Dr. Donahue wrote, “I think we have to be incredibly cautions when interpreting estimates from a study like this. In particular, I think it’s important to emphasize that we really can’t isolate the impact of school closures from other interventions.”
Dr. Donahue also emphasized, “Even if these numbers were accurate or valid, we don’t know how much of the effect would be derived from reducing contacts among kids at school, versus reducing contacts among parents who have to stay home from work because their children are out of school.”
Acknowledging the limitations of the study, the doctor noted, “I do worry that these large estimates of the effect of school closures will lead people to give up because it is going to be challenging to open schools… I do worry that some districts will look at these numbers and say, well, it’s just too hard and it’s not safe to reopen.”
While the CDC has vacillated on subjects such as mask wearing, it is steadfast in the need to reopen schools. On 23 July, the CDC published this on its website:
“Parents are understandably concerned about the safety of their children at school in the wake of COVID-19. The best available evidence indicates if children become infected, they are far less likely to suffer severe symptoms. Death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults. At the same time, the harms attributed to closed schools on the social, emotional, and behavioral health, economic well-being, and academic achievement of children, in both the short- and long-term, are well-known and significant.
Further, the lack of in-person educational options disproportionately harms low-income and minority children and those living with disabilities. These students are far less likely to have access to private instruction and care and far more likely to rely on key school-supported resources like food programs, special education services, counseling, and after-school programs to meet basic developmental needs.”
The debate in the U.S. around reopening schools remains divisive and fear-driven. On 28 July, CNN produced a video report on teachers protesting against reopening of schools, including the narrator saying, “These teachers are driving home the message that with the coronavirus skyrocketing, it’s no time to put kids back in the classroom.”
The CNN headline on its website posting the video read: “‘I don’t want to go to school and get Covid’: Some kids scared as adults debate the risks of reopening.”
Last week, school teachers marched in Washington, D.C., to protest schools reopening, putting fake body bags at the doorstep of the school district office and carrying signs that read: “RIP Favorite Teacher,” “Killed in the Line of Duty,” and “How Many Will You Let Die?”
The latest poll from EducationWeek.org last month reveals about two-thirds of public school teachers and administrators are in of favor keeping schools closed this fall.
TREND FORECAST: As we have noted, as global economies decline and online courses increase, there will be strong, new political movements for governments to lower school taxes. The argument will be that with online learning, far fewer teachers will be needed and all costs related to brick-and-mortar school buildings will be substantially lower, thus, taxes should be sharply cut.
TREND FORECAST: “New Millennium” education is a mega-trend we had forecast.
And, as we had forecast at beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak when schools across the globe were shut down, it signaled the onset of a 21st century online learning system, which, back in 1996, Gerald Celente had forecast as “Interactive U” in his bestselling book, “Trends 2000.”
Trends are born, they grow, mature, reach old age, and then die.
“Interactive U” has just been born. The new education system that will replace the current one, which was invented by the Prussians at the onset of the Industrial Revolution, will offer great investment rewards to existing and start-up companies which create the new learning systems and continue to update them.
At this time, Indian companies are leading much of the trend, since online learning has deeper roots in that nation.