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News

School closures ‘did not significantly reduce Covid spread’ – The Telegraph

There is “no evidence” that school closures significantly reduced the spread of Covid, a study has found.

The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, used data from Japan, where each municipality is responsible for the closure of schools in their areas.

…”Empirically, we find no evidence that school closures in Japan caused a significant reduction in the number of coronavirus cases,” they said.

“If opening schools leads to the spread of Covid-19, spikes of cases would occur in the control group; however, these were not observed. The implication is the same: school closures do not help reduce the spread of Covid-19 significantly.”

…Separate research, published earlier this year, found the UK had closed schools for longer than anywhere in Europe other than Italy over the past 18 months.

http://archive.today/2021.11.01-222952/https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/11/01/school-closures-did-not-significantly-reduce-covid-spread/

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News

CDC: Schools With Mask Mandates Didn’t See Statistically Significant Different Rates of COVID Transmission From Schools With Optional Policies – FEE

The CDC did not include its finding that “required mask use among students was not statistically significant compared with schools where mask use was optional” in the summary of its report.

https://fee.org/articles/cdc-schools-with-mask-mandates-didn-t-see-statistically-significant-different-rates-of-covid-transmission-from-schools-with-optional-policies/

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Videos

Dr. Roger Hodkinson interview – Alison Morrow

The Associated Press recently ran a story they said debunked the dissenting Covid concerns of pathologist, Dr. Roger Hodkinson. In their article titled, “Pathologist falsely claims COVID-19 is a hoax, no worse than the flu,” they misrepresented several of Dr. Hodkinson’s statements. The also wrote specifically saying they were planning to debunk him, not understand what he meant. Dr Hodkinson is a medical specialist in pathology and graduate of Cambridge University, UK. He is a Fellow of the College of American Pathologists and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He was previously the President of the Alberta Society of Laboratory Physicians, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Alberta, and CEO of a large community based medical laboratory with a full menu of testing for infectious disease and virology. He is currently the Chairman of an American biotechnology company active in DNA sequencing.

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Opinion

Scrap Covid tests in schools, says Oxford vaccine pioneer

Covid testing in schools is hugely disruptive and should be suspended, experts have said, as it emerged that up to 60 per cent of “positive” tests a week are coming back negative when checked.

Under plans to keep schools open, more than 50 million lateral flow tests have been carried out on youngsters, leading to thousands of pupils and their social bubbles being forced to self-isolate for 10 days.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/06/17/scrap-covid-tests-schools-says-oxford-vaccine-pioneer/

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Publications

Vaccinating children against SARS-CoV-2 – BMJ

Hard to justify right now for most children in most countries

Following widespread vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 of older adults and other highly vulnerable groups, some high income countries are now considering vaccinating children; just days ago, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in children 12-15 years of age. Young people have been largely spared from severe covid-19 so far, and the value of childhood vaccination against respiratory viruses in general remains an open question for three reasons: the limited benefits of protection in age groups that experience only mild disease; the limited effects on transmission because of the range of antigenic types and waning vaccine induced immunity; and the possibility of unintended consequences related to differences in vaccine induced and infection induced immunity. We discuss each in turn.

https://www.bmj.com/content/373/bmj.n1197

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News

School attendance has ‘minimal impact on serious Covid-19 infection’ – ITV News

Adults who lived with children during the pandemic’s second wave were only slightly more at risk of Covid-19 than those who lived without them, suggesting school attendance has minimal impact on infection rates, a new study has found.

While there was a small increased risk of infection and hospitalisation for those aged 65 and under who lived with school-aged children between September and December last year, they were no more likely to be admitted to intensive care or die than those who lived without children.

The peer-reviewed study, published in the British Medical Journal, found no evidence of a noticeably increased risk of infection during the first wave in the UK between February and August, compared to those adults who do not live with children.

https://www.itv.com/news/2021-03-19/school-attendance-has-minimal-impact-on-serious-covid-19-infection

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Publications

Closing schools is not evidence based and harms children – BMJ

Some 8.8 million schoolchildren in the UK have experienced severe disruption to their education, with prolonged school closures and national exams cancelled for two consecutive years. School closures have been implemented internationally1 with insufficient evidence for their role in minimising covid-19 transmission and insufficient consideration of the harms to children.

https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n521

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Videos

Prof Jay Bhattacharya, Signatory of Gt Barrington Declaration: Why ‘Lockdown’ Will Kill Millions – Naomi Wolf, Daily Clout

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Opinion

What role do schools play in the spread of Covid-19? – The Spectator

Analysis of the age profile of Covid infections, however, does not point to schools being especially important in the early-stage growth of the second wave. Although the report does also observe that ‘school closures can contribute to a reduction in SARS-CoV-2 transmission’.

But had schools played a big role you would expect to have seen a sharp increase in cases among children of school age a week or two following the return to the classroom. Instead, the ECDC noted that Europe’s second wave began with a sharp increase in cases among 19 to 39 year olds in mid August. Cases among 16 to 18 year olds also increased around this time, but the curve of infections among younger children rose much more gradually, in step with infection rates in the over-40s. 

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/what-role-do-schools-play-in-the-spread-of-covid-19-

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Publications

COVID-19 in children and the role of school settings in transmission – first update – ECDC

The return to school of children around mid-August 2020 coincided with a general relaxation of other NPI measures in many countries and does not appear to have been a driving force in the upsurge in cases observed in many EU Member States from October 2020.

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications-data/children-and-school-settings-covid-19-transmission

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Publications

Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Children and Their Parents in Southwest Germany – JAMA Pediatrics

The low seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in young children in this study may indicate that they do not play a key role in SARS-CoV-2 spreading during the current pandemic.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2775656

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News

Children did NOT play a key role in spreading coronavirus during the first wave of the pandemic and are ‘unlikely’ to have boosted infection numbers, study finds – Daily Mail

  • German researchers enrolled nearly 2,500 parents and their children in a study 
  • Found three times as many adults had coronavirus antibodies than children
  • Data also shows a previously infected adult and an uninfected child was 4.3 times more common than a previously infected child and an uninfected parent

Children are unlikely to have played a significant role in the spread of coronavirus during the first wave last year, a study shows.

Throughout the pandemic it has become increasingly evident children are less affected by Covid-19; symptoms, severe disease and death figures in children are all much lower than would be expected when compared to the rest of the population. 

Figures from Public Health England (PHE) show the current risk of dying from coronavirus if infected is 1,513 per 100,000 people for over-80s, but for children aged five to nine, this is just 0.1 per 100,000. 

https://web.archive.org/web/20210122182806/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9176751/Children-NOT-play-key-role-spreading-coronavirus.html

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Opinion

Have we got it all wrong when it comes to Covid? – The Irish Examiner

There is a case to be made that we as a country have been led by a conversation about the virus which has been unbalanced and disproportionate, writes Daniel McConnell

https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/arid-40081700.html

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Publications

Fask Facts -The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

A curated list of mask facts and medical publications.

COVID-19 is as politically-charged as it is infectious. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO, the CDC and NIH’s Dr. Anthony Fauci discouraged wearing masks as not useful for non-health care workers. Now they recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are hard to do (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). The recommendation was published without a single scientific paper or other information provided to support that cloth masks actually provide any respiratory protection. Let’s look at the data.

  • Surgical masks are loose fitting. They are designed to protect the patient from the doctors’ respiratory droplets.  There wearer is not protected from others’ airborne particles.
  • People do not wear masks properly. Many people have the mask under the nose. The wearer does not have glasses on and the eyes are a portal of entry.  If the virus lands on the conjunctiva, tears will wash it into the nasopharynx.
  • Most studies cannot separate out hand hygiene.
  • The designer masks and scarves offer minimal protection. They give a false sense of security to both the wearer and those around the wearer.
    **Not to mention they add a perverse lightheartedness to the situation.
  • If you are walking alone, no need for a mask. Avoid other folks; use common sense.
  • Remember: children under 2 years should not wear masks because of accidental suffocation and difficulty breathing in some.
  • Even if a universal mask mandate were imposed, several studies noted that folks do not use the mask properly and over-report their wearing.  Additionally, how would the mandate be enforced??
  • The positive studies are models that assume universality and full compliance.
  • If wearing a mask makes people go out and get Vitamin D – go for it. In the 1918 flu pandemic people who went outside did better.  Early reports are showing people with COVID-19 with low Vitamin D do worse than those with normal levels. Perhaps that is why shut-ins do so poorly.

https://aapsonline.org/mask-facts/

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Publications

COVID-19 – research evidence summaries – Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Are children as likely as adults to acquire COVID-19?

Emerging evidence suggests that children may be less likely to acquire the disease. This is supported in countries that have undertaken widespread community testing, where lower case numbers in children than adults have been found.4 14 44 45 Between 16 January and 3 May 2020, 35,200 children in England were swabbed for SARS-CoV-2 and 1408 (4%) were positive. Children under 16 years old accounted for only 1.1% of positive cases.

Can children transmit the virus?

The importance of children in transmitting the virus is difficult to establish, particularly because of the number of asymptomatic cases, but there is some evidence that their role in transmitting the virus is limited…

https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-research-evidence-summaries#transmission

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News

Primary schools ‘no greater risk than home’ for pupils and staff – BBC

Attending primary school puts children and staff at no greater risk of contracting coronavirus than staying at home, a study of 131 schools suggests…

…A separate sample of 2,100 staff and children, who were tested for antibodies, found 10.6% of pupils and 12.7% of staff had previously had coronavirus.

This could suggest that children are as likely as adults to be infected, rather than being less susceptible to the disease.

But because so few positive cases in children are detected, it confirms previous research that they are likely to experience mild symptoms, or none at all.

The study found children and staff who attended school more frequently were no more likely to test positive for antibodies than those who did not attend school, or went less often.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54025708

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News Opinion

The Case Against Covid Tests for the Young and Healthy – Wall Street Journal

There is little purpose in using tests to check asymptomatic children to see if it is safe for them to come to school. When children are infected, most are asymptomatic, and the mortality risk is lower than for the flu. While adult-to-adult and adult-to-child transmission is common, child-to-adult transmission isn’t. Children thus pose minimal risk to their teachers. If a child has a cough, a runny nose or other respiratory symptoms, he should stay home. You don’t need a test for that.

Sweden was the only major Western country that kept schools open for kids 15 and younger throughout the pandemic, with no masks or mass testing. How did it turn out? Zero Covid-19 deaths among 1.8 million children attending day care or school. Teachers didn’t have an excess infection risk compared with the average of other professions.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-case-against-covid-tests-for-the-young-and-healthy-11599151722

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News Opinion

Children could spread COVID19 more if they wear masks – Professor Russell Viner, BBC Newsnight

According to professor Russell Viner, President of Royal College of Paediatrics and SAGE member:

  • There’s very little evidence for the use of masks in schools.
  • Children could potentially spread the virus more if they wear masks
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News

Pupils pose no risk of spreading Covid – Professor Russell Viner, The Sunday Times

One of the largest studies in the world on coronavirus in schools, carried out in 100 institutions in the UK, will confirm that “there is very little evidence that the virus is transmitted” there, according to a leading scientist.

Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and a member of the government advisory group Sage, said: “A new study that has been done in UK schools confirms there is very little evidence that the virus is transmitted in schools.

“This is the some of the largest data you will find on schools anywhere. Britain has done very well in terms of thinking of collecting data in schools.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/pupils-pose-no-risk-of-spreading-covid-27q6zfd9l

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News

No known case of teacher catching coronavirus from pupils, says scientist – The Times

There has been no recorded case of a teacher catching the coronavirus from a pupil anywhere in the world, according to one of the government’s leading scientific advisers.

Mark Woolhouse, a leading epidemiologist and member of the government’s Sage committee, told The Times that it may have been a mistake to close schools in March given the limited role children play in spreading the virus.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/no-known-case-of-teacher-catching-coronavirus-from-pupils-says-scientist-3zk5g2x6z