This is from the Wall Street Journal:
BERLIN—As U.S. authorities debate whether to keep schools open, a consensus is emerging in Europe that children are a considerable factor in the spread of Covid-19—and more countries are shutting schools for the first time since the spring.
Closures have been announced recently in the U.K., Germany, Ireland, Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands on concerns about a more infectious variant of the virus first detected in the U.K. and rising case counts despite lockdowns.
While the debate continues, recent studies and outbreaks show that schoolchildren, even younger ones, can play a significant role in spreading infections.
“In the second wave we acquired much more evidence that schoolchildren are almost equally, if not more infected by SARS-CoV-2 than others,“ said Antoine Flahault, director of the University of Geneva’s Institute of Global Health.
Please, someone, send this news to Mr. Cuomo, Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Mulgrew, Mr. Trump, and Mr. Biden. This is the Wall Street Journal, not some left-wing pro-union publication.
Kids may be less likely to die from COVID-19 but they are not immune.
In April 2020, children under the age of 18 made up just 1.7 percent of reported coronavirus cases, according to data from the CDC. By August, that figure had shot up to 7.3 percent. As of January 13, 2021, more than 2 million kids have caught Covid-19, and children comprise 10.8 percent of the nation’s caseload. According to a report released by the CDC on Wednesday, about 12,000 kids were hospitalized with the disease between March 1 and December 12, 2020. During that time, 178 died.
Do kids spread COVID-19?
Again, to Wired:
When it comes to the debate over opening schools, the other crucial questions are not about severity, but about spread. How easily are kids getting infected, and often are they transmitting the disease to others?
One way researchers have gauged that is to track infections within households where at least one person has tested positive. Two early studies in China found that kids were less likely than the adults in their household to contract the coronavirus. But scientists at the CDC had a hunch that something else was going on. The researchers leading those studies were only swabbing family members if they started to feel sick. Anyone who had been infected but wasn’t showing symptoms would be missed. Moreover, schools in the areas where the families lived were mostly closed. Kids were staying home, reducing their odds of exposure to the virus.
“Back then, there was a ton of discussion about how susceptible kids really were,” says Melissa Rolfes, a CDC epidemiologist with the agency’s Covid-19 response team. “So we set out to get really good data across age spans that wouldn’t be biased by things like symptoms or seeking medical care.”
Rolfes teamed up with researchers in Marshfield, Wisconsin, and Nashville, Tennessee, who’d worked with the CDC in the past on flu surveillance. They quickly stood up a new study focused on finding the coronavirus in kids. It worked like this: If a person tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and they lived with at least one other person who wasn’t sick, the scientists would try to recruit that whole household for 14 days of daily nasal swabbing and questionnaire answering. That allowed them to capture any viral spread within the household, regardless of who showed symptoms.
What they found between last April and October was stark. People who had the virus spread it to half of their household companions. (In the earlier studies from China, it had been more like 20 to 30 percent.) And it didn’t matter whether it was a kid or an adult who brought SARS-CoV-2 home, they transmitted it to their family at similar rates. Within households, kids also got infected just as often as adults. But they tended to get less sick than the grown-ups, avoiding fevers and a cough most of the time. “Maybe they’d just have a stuffy nose, or maybe nothing, but when you swabbed them you’d find the virus,” says Rolfes. She realized earlier studies had been overlooking a lot of cases, especially in kids, because they didn’t appear ill. “We were really floored when we saw that data. A secondary infection rate above 50 percent for household contact was just mind-boggling.”
As for the new strain:
It’s still early, but all evidence so far suggests the UK variant increases transmission—by about 30 to 50 percent—equally across all age groups. So while schools might be a lot riskier, so is everywhere else people congregate indoors.
This article does not call for preemptively shutting down schools to stop the new variant from taking hold but there we disagree. I have maintained since early March that school buildings should be closed until community spread is gone. If you shut things down and get the virus under control, you can get that V shaped economic recovery that has eluded us in the USA.
New Zealand’s economy bounced back strongly from recession in the third quarter, achieving a so-called V-shaped recovery as massive fiscal and monetary stimulus fueled consumer spending.
Gross domestic product surged 14% from the second quarter, when it contracted a revised 11%, Statistics New Zealand said Thursday in Wellington. Economists forecast a 12.9% gain. From a year earlier, the economy grew 0.4%, confounding the consensus forecast for a 1.8% decline.
New Zealanders have gone on a spending spree since the nation eliminated community transmission of Covid-19 in May and then successfully contained sporadic outbreaks. However, the border remains closed to foreigners, crippling the tourism industry, and many businesses have put investment and hiring plans on hold, which is projected to push the jobless rate higher in 2021.