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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

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News

School age children more likely to be hit by lightning than die of coronavirus – The Telegraph

Experts said previous generations had dealt with issue by allowing youngsters to pick up infections when they were less dangerous.

Schoolchildren under the age of 15 are more likely to be hit by lightning than die from coronavirus, new figures suggest, amid mounting pressure on the Government to get more to get pupils back into classrooms as quickly as possible.

Scientists from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford have called for “rational debate” based on the “tiny” risk to children, suggesting that if no vaccine is found in future it may be better for younger people to continue with their lives while the more vulnerable are shielded.

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Opinion

Coronavirus: Why everyone was wrong – Dr. Beda Stadler

Professor Dr. Beda M Stadler is the former director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Bern, a biologist and professor emeritus.

Novelty:

Sars-Cov-2 isn’t all that new, but merely a seasonal cold virus that mutated and disappears in summer, as all cold viri do — which is what we’re observing globally right now. Flu viri mutate significantly more, by the way, and nobody would ever claim that a new flu virus strain was completely novel.

Immunity:

In mid-April work was published by the group of Andreas Thiel at the Charité Berlin. A paper with 30 authors, amongst them the virologist Christian Drosten. It showed that in 34 % of people in Berlin who had never been in contact with the Sars-CoV-2 virus showed nonetheless T-cell immunity against it (T-cell immunity is a different kind of immune reaction, see below). This means that our T-cells, i.e. white blood cells, detect common structures appearing on Sars-CoV-2 and regular cold viri and therefore combat both of them.

…almost no children under ten years old got sick, everyone should have made the argument that children clearly have to be immune. For every other disease that doesn’t afflict a certain group of people, we would come to the conclusion that that group is immune. When people are sadly dying in a retirement home, but in the same place other pensioners with the same risk factors are left entirely unharmed, we should also conclude that they were presumably immune.

Modelling:

Epidemiologist also fell for the myth that there was no immunity in the population. They also didn’t want to believe that coronaviri were seasonal cold viri that would disappear in summer. Otherwise their curve models would have looked differently. When the initial worst case scenarios didn’t come true anywhere, some now still cling to models predicting a second wave.

Asymptomatic transmission:

The term “silent carriers” was conjured out of a hat and it was claimed that one could be sick without having symptoms.

The next joke that some virologists shared was the claim that those who were sick without symptoms could still spread the virus to other people…But for doctors and virologists to twist this into a story of “healthy” sick people, which stokes panic and was often given as a reason for stricter lockdown measures, just shows how bad the joke really is. At least the WHO didn’t accept the claim of asymptomatic infections and even challenges this claim on its website.

Testing:

So if we do a PCR corona test on an immune person, it is not a virus that is detected, but a small shattered part of the viral genome. The test comes back positive for as long as there are tiny shattered parts of the virus left. Correct: Even if the infectious viri are long dead, a corona test can come back positive, because the PCR method multiplies even a tiny fraction of the viral genetic material enough [to be detected]…The crux was that the virus debris registered with the overly sensitive test and therefore came back as “positive”. It is likely that a large number of the daily reported infection numbers are purely due to viral debris.

Kawasaki Syndrome:

If an infected person does not have enough antibodies, i.e. a weak immune response, the virus slowly spreads out across the entire body. Now that there are not enough antibodies, there is only the second, supporting leg of our immune response left: The T-cells beginn to attack the virus-infested cells all over the body. This can lead to an exaggerated immune response, basically to a massive slaughter; this is called a Cytokine Storm. Very rarely this can also happen in small children, in that case called Kawasaki Syndrome. This very rare occurrence in children was also used in our country to stoke panic. It’s interesting, however, that this syndrome is very easily cured. The [affected] children get antibodies from healthy blood donors, i.e. people who went through coronavirus colds.

Second Wave:

The virus is gone for now. It will probably come back in winter, but it won’t be a second wave, but just a cold.

Face masks:

Those young and healthy people who currently walk around with a mask on their faces would be better off wearing a helmet instead, because the risk of something falling on their head is greater than that of getting a serious case of Covid-19.

Lethality:

People below 65 years old make up only 0.6 to 2.6 % of all fatal Covid cases. To get on top of the pandemic, we need a strategy merely concentrating on the protection of at-risk people over 65.

https://medium.com/@vernunftundrichtigkeit/coronavirus-why-everyone-was-wrong-fce6db5ba809

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Opinion

‘The lockdown is causing so many deaths’ – Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, Spiked

Lockdown deaths:

The really concerning thing is that if all the deaths taking place during lockdown are put down as Covid-19 deaths, we are going to miss the fact that the lockdown policies have caused an increase in deaths from many other things. There has been a 50 per cent reduction in people turning up to A&E. It is clear that people just do not want to bother the doctors. And a number of these people will be dying. If we muddle the Covid-19 statistics in with the other statistics, we might think the lockdown has prevented a certain number of deaths, when it has actually caused a large number of deaths.

NHS capacity:

You hear this idea that all NHS staff have been working 20 times as hard as they have ever done. This is complete nonsense. An awful lot of people have been standing around wondering what the hell to do with themselves. A&E has never been so quiet.

The chances of children dying from COVID-19:

How many people aged 15 or under have died of Covid-19? Four. The chance of dying from a lightning strike is one in 700,000. The chance of dying of Covid-19 in that age group is one in 3.5million. And we locked them all down. Even among the 15- to 44-year-olds, the death rate is very low and the vast majority of deaths have been people who had significant underlying health conditions. We locked them down as well. We locked down the population that had virtually zero risk of getting any serious problems from the disease, and then spread it wildly among the highly vulnerable age group.

On vaccines:

It is not clear that getting the virus actually makes you immune to it in the future, and it is not clear a vaccine would either.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/06/26/the-lockdown-is-causing-so-many-deaths/

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News

NHS treatment delays linked to more child deaths than coronavirus – The Telegraph

Seeking medical help too late during pandemic was contributory factor in the deaths of nine children, Royal College research finds

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/25/nhs-treatment-delays-linked-child-deaths-coronavirus/

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News

School Children Don’t Spread Coronavirus, French Study Shows – Bloomberg

Scientists at Institut Pasteur studied 1,340 people in Crepy-en-Valois, a town northeast of Paris that suffered an outbreak in February and March, including 510 students from six primary schools. They found three probable cases among kids that didn’t lead to more infections among other pupils or teachers.

The study confirms that children appear to show fewer telltale symptoms than adults and be less contagious, providing a justification for school reopenings in countries from Denmark to Switzerland. The researchers found that 61% of the parents of infected kids had the coronavirus, compared with about 7% of parents of healthy ones, suggesting it was the parents who had infected their offspring rather than the other way around.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-23/school-children-don-t-spread-coronavirus-french-study-shows

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News

Coronavirus: Under-20s half as likely to catch COVID-19, according to study – Sky News

Researchers found school closures had little effect on preventing coronavirus transmission compared to that of the flu.

Under-20s are half as likely to catch COVID-19 as over-20s, making school closures less effective at stopping the spread of the virus, a new scientific study has found.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that susceptibility to the coronavirus was low for younger people, before increasing around the age of 20.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-under-20s-half-as-likely-to-catch-covid-19-says-study-12007936

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News

School age children more likely to be hit by lightning than die of coronavirus, analysis finds – The Telegraph

School children under the age of 15 are more likely to be hit by lightning than die from coronavirus, new figures suggest, amid mounting pressure for the government to get more to get pupils back into classrooms as quickly as possible.

Scientists from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford have called for “rational debate” based on the “tiny” risk to children and have suggested that if no vaccine is found in the future then it may be better for younger people to continue with their lives, while shielding the more vulnerable.

It comes as the government was accused of “losing the plot” after Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, scrapped the Government’s target of getting all primary school pupils back in the classroom before the summer holidays

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News

Three mothers are considering launching legal battle with Government claiming school closures during coronavirus crisis may have breached their children’s human rights – Daily Mail

Three mothers are considering suing the Government over school closures – amid claims they may have breached children’s human rights and pupil’s are being ‘treated like they’re germs’. 

The women have also written to the Secretary of State Gavin Williamson to ask whether the ‘long term physical and mental welfare’ of pupils has been considered, and to raise concerns about social distancing.

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Opinion Videos

Professor Karol Sikora: fear is more deadly than the virus – UnHerd

  • Professor Karol Sikora says that COVID-19 behaves like pandemics in the past.
  • Society is scarred all over the world.
  • The virus will go but the fear will do the damage.

Note: YouTube has taken down the video. Please go directly to UnHerd’s site:

https://unherd.com/thepost/professor-karol-sikora-fear-is-more-dangerous-than-the-virus/

Professor Karol Sikora has become something of a celebrity in the UK over the past months for his expert commentary on the pandemic, and his unusual tendency for optimism rather than pessimism.

Virus ‘getting tired’
– In the past two weeks, the virus is showing signs of petering out
– It’s as though the virus is ‘getting tired’, almost ‘getting bored’
– It’s happening across the world at the same time

Existing herd immunity
– The serology results around the world (and forthcoming in Britain) don’t necessarily reveal the percentage of people who have had the disease
– He estimates 25-30% of the UK population has had Covid-19, and higher in the group that is most susceptible
– Pockets of herd immunity help *already* explain the downturn
– Sweden’s end result will not be different to ours – lockdown versus no lockdown

Fear more deadly than the virus
– When the history books are written, the fear will have killed many more people than the virus, including large numbers of cancer and cardiological patients not being treated
– We should have got the machinery of the NHS for non-corona patients back open earlier

Masks and schools
– Evidence on masks is just not there either way so it should be an ‘individual decision’
– We should move to 1m social distancing which means restaurants and bars could reopen
– More schools should reopen in June as ‘children are not the transmitters of this virus’
– We should be getting back to the ‘old normal’ not a ‘new normal’

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News

Teaching unions are working against the interests of children, says Blunkett – The Times

Teaching unions are working against the interests of children in opposing plans to reopen schools, Lord Blunkett said today.

The former education secretary said that he was “deeply critical” of the approach of teaching unions towards attempts to open schools in England on June 1, for children in reception, year 1 and year 6.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/teaching-unions-are-working-against-the-interests-of-children-says-blunkett-mwrv5vws0

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Publications

DFTB COVID-19 EVIDENCE REVIEW – Don’t Forget the Bubbles (pediatrics blog)

Don’t Forget The Bubbles — a blog for medical professionals specializing in pediatrics — partnered with the UK Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health to track and review studies on COVID-19 in children, according to its website. Using research from 78 of those studies, it released a 45-page report on April 22 that extracts early findings on the epidemiology, transmission and symptoms of the coronavirus in children.

Conclusion:

The role of children in transmission is unclear, but it seems likely they do not play a significant role.

https://dontforgetthebubbles.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/COVID-data-top-10.pdf

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News

Searching for COVID-19 Knowledge through Autopsies – Spiegel International

None of them were healthy at the time they became infected with the virus. “All of the cases had pre-existing conditions and most of them had several,” says Alexandar Tzankov, a pathologist from the University of Basel.

[D]octors found “multiple pre-existing conditions” and they were present “in every single case.” The cause of death tended to be a respiratory tract infection, a lung infection, a pulmonary embolism or a combination of all three. The most common pre-existing conditions found by the pathologists pertained to the cardiovascular system or the lungs.

“Essentially, COVID-19 isn’t a problem to children or the normal, healthy population,” says Püschel. Furthermore, each individual’s physical condition is a more important factor than age, he says. “Age by itself isn’t an illness. Older people are more likely to suffer from illnesses, but the extent of pre-existing conditions is relevant,” Püschel says

https://www.spiegel.de/international/learning-from-the-dead-what-autopsies-can-reveal-about-covid-19-a-6d9db1d4-1a47-4603-843a-94c949a29161

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News Opinion

Matt Ridley We know everything – and nothing – about Covid – The Spectator

The horrible truth is that it now looks like in many of the early cases, the disease was probably caught in hospitals and doctors’ surgeries. That is where the virus kept returning, in the lungs of sick people, and that is where the next person often caught it, including plenty of healthcare workers. Many of these may not have realised they had it, or thought they had a mild cold. They then gave it to yet more elderly patients who were in hospital for other reasons, some of whom were sent back to care homes when the National Health Service made space on the wards for the expected wave of coronavirus patients.

Once the epidemic is under control in hospitals and care homes, the disease might die out anyway, even without lockdown. In sharp contrast to the pattern among the elderly, children do not transmit the virus much if at all. A recent review by paediatricians could not find a single case of a child passing the disease on and said the evidence ‘consistently demonstrates reduced infection and infectivity of children in the transmission chain’. One boy who caught it while skiing failed to give it to 170 contacts, but he also had both flu and a cold, which he donated to two siblings. Children appear to have ACE2 receptors, the cellular lock that the coronavirus picks, in their noses but not their lungs.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/we-know-everything-and-nothing-about-covid

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Publications

Children are not COVID-19 super spreaders: time to go back to school – BMJ

At the current time, children do not appear to be super spreaders. Sero-surveillance data will not be available to confirm or refute these findings prior to the urgent policy decisions that need to be taken in the next few weeks such as how and when to re-open schools. Policies for non-pharmacological interventions involving children are going to have to be made on a risk–benefit basis with current evidence available.

https://adc.bmj.com/content/early/2020/05/05/archdischild-2020-319474

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Opinion

Concern about powers in new UK Coronavirus laws – may include compulsory detention of children

Lawyers at the Russell Cooke law firm express concerns about new Coronavirus Regulations.

Background:

  • The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 passed 10 Feb 2020
  • Regulations were made without a draft being laid and approved by Parliament and came into effect immediately.
  • This was permitted under the claim that it was necessary due to threat to human health from COVID-19.

Regulations:

  • Allow the Secretary of State or a registered public health consultant to impose compulsory detention and isolation of people suspected of having COVID-19.
  • Allow forced testing and screening for 48 hours.
  • Power to restrict a person’s travel and other activities and to restrict a person’s contact with specified people.
  • The police are given power under to enforce the regulations where a person is not willing to be isolated voluntarily using ‘reasonable force’.
  • An isolated or detained individual will not be free to leave.
  • Refusal to comply is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £1,000.
  • There are also powers in the regulations which envisage the detention of children, which could present its own issues.

Source:

https://www.russell-cooke.co.uk/insight/briefings/2020/new-coronavirus-regulations-quarantine-measures-to-contain-the-virus/