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Opinion

Why did the world react so hysterically to covid? – Sebastian Rushworth M.D.

  • The mortality rate is below 0.2%.
  • For most people the risk of dying if you get infected is less than one in 500 (and less than one in 3,000 if you’re below 70 years of age).
  • The disease preferentially strikes people who are anyway very close to the end of life/
  • The amount of lifetime lost when someone dies of the disease is usually small.
  • 2020 will likely turn out to have been a very average year in terms of overall mortality.
  • 98% of people who get covid are fully recovered within three months.
  • There is no good evidence that covid results in long term health consequences.
  • Chinese realized early on that covid-19 wasn’t very serious, no worse than a bad flu.
  • China is still reporting less than 20 cases per day.
  • China is claiming that less than 5,000 people have so far died of covid in China. That’s less than Sweden, a country with less than 1% of China’s population.
Categories
News

ER visits, long waits climb for kids in mental health crisis – AP News

When children and teens are overwhelmed with anxiety, depression or thoughts of self-harm, they often wait days in emergency rooms because there aren’t enough psychiatric beds.

The problem has only grown worse during the pandemic, reports from parents and professionals suggest.

With schools closed, routines disrupted and parents anxious over lost income or uncertain futures, children are shouldering new burdens many are unequipped to bear.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201205170423/https://apnews.com/article/anxiety-mental-health-boston-coronavirus-pandemic-massachusetts-004adb5ee0ef17ff4b5e2e294e36ff3d

Categories
Publications

Harms of public health interventions against covid-19 must not be ignored – BMJ

The harmful consequences of public health choices should be explicitly considered and transparently reported to limit their damage, say Itai Bavli and colleagues

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge for governments. Questions regarding the most effective interventions to reduce the spread of the virus—for example, more testing, requirements to wear face masks, and stricter and longer lockdowns—become widely discussed in the popular and scientific press, informed largely by models that aimed to predict the health benefits of proposed interventions. Central to all these studies is recognition that inaction, or delayed action, will put millions of people unnecessarily at risk of serious illness or death.

However, interventions to limit the spread of the coronavirus also carry negative health effects, which have yet to be considered systematically. Despite increasing evidence on the unintended, adverse effects of public health interventions such as social distancing and lockdown measures, there are few signs that policy decisions are being informed by a serious assessment and weighing of their harms on health. Instead, much of the discussion has become politicised, especially in the US, where President Trump’s provocative statements sparked debates along party lines about the necessity for policies to control covid-19. This politicisation, often fuelled by misinformation, has distracted from a much needed dispassionate discussion on the harms and benefits of potential public health measures against covid-19.

https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4074

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Visitor Contributions

A Rational Reopening Guide

In the interest of public debate, we allow visitors to share opinions, experiences and research that may be of value to others. This is a visitor contribution from our Discussions page.

The views expressed are those of the individual posters themselves. Please read our Comments and contributions disclaimer.

Author

Megan Mansell

  • Credentials: Megan Mansell is a former district education director over special populations integration, serving students who are profoundly disabled, immunocompromised, undocumented, autistic, and behaviorally challenged; she also has a background in hazardous environs PPE applications. She is experienced in writing and monitoring protocol implementation for immunocompromised public sector access under full ADA/OSHA/IDEA compliance.
  • E-mail: [email protected]
  • Twitter: @mamasaurusMeg

A Rational Reopening Guide

A framework for operating any facility or business during COVID

The United States already has a body of law that requires making accommodations for persons with disabilities; if we start from the premise that Americans should be able to determine the level of risk they’re willing to take, all of those concepts can be extended to provide accommodations to anyone who is concerned about exposure to COVID, whether because they are vulnerable or because they live with someone who is vulnerable.

The first step is to ask everyone whether or not they consider themselves immunocompromised (IC). This can include people who themselves are immunocompromised or who live with someone who is immunocompromised. Allowing people to identify whether or not they consider themselves immunocompromised allows us to create reasonable accommodations for accessing the public sector. Some people cannot mask, and others prefer not to, but we can still allow them to safely access shared spaces if we know how many individuals are truly in need of accommodation.

Those who cannot or prefer not to mask should be free to assess their own risk, especially for a contagion with a 99.6% recovery rate.

If we ask everyone to identify the population they belong to, it all falls into place.

Read the full article on Rational Ground.

Categories
Opinion

My manifesto to beat coronavirus crisis: Protect the elderly and vulnerable, let the rest live their lives, and throw Britain open again – Prof. David Livermore, Daily Mail

In fact, it is now becoming clear [Lockdown] is simply the wrong policy. Those who dissented from the Government’s Covid-19 strategy have been dismissed as mavericks on the fringes of the scientific establishment. However, this is no longer the case. I am afraid that the broadcast media has been particularly slow to reflect a shift in outlook among international scientists.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8816651/PROF-DAVID-LIVERMORE-manifesto-beat-coronavirus-crisis.html

Categories
News

Herd immunity could have saved more lives than lockdown, study suggests – The Telegraph

Researchers from Edinburgh University reassessed Imperial modelling that showed half a million people would die.

Blanket social distancing and the closure of schools may have cost more lives than if herd immunity had been allowed to build slowly in the community, a study suggests.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/10/07/herd-immunity-could-have-saved-lives-lockdown-study-suggests/

Categories
Opinion

Too many children are being tested for coronavirus, top paediatrician claims as he demands schools stay fully open in face of future waves of Covid-19 – Daily Mail

Professor Russell Viner, from University College London, demanded schools should instead remain fully open in the face of a second wave and cease their ‘flip-flopping’ between closures and openings which are ‘harming’ the education of youngsters.

He was speaking after his recently published study revealed those under 20 are 44 per cent less likely to be infected with the virus than adults.

…’We need to be thinking: “Are we testing too many children?” because of our understandable but probably unscientific and misplaced concerns about children being infected in schools.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8780333/Too-children-tested-coronavirus-paediatrician-claims.html

Categories
News Opinion

September’s normal increase in coughs and colds is causing ‘utter chaos’ in Britain because the Government has left people terrified of coronavirus, top Oxford scientist warns MPs – Prof. Carl Heneghan, Daily Mail

Professor Carl Heneghan said there has been a 50% rise in coughs and colds

This is normal for September when children go back to school and university

But Government messaging about Covid-19 has left people ‘terrified’, he said

  • A coughing illness would not normally be considered an epidemic until doctors were seeing 400 symptomatic cases per 100,000 – far higher than Covid-19 rates;
  • The Eat Out to Help Out restaurant voucher scheme likely led to an increase in the spread of coronavirus;
  • Increased testing is still only picking up a fraction of the true number of cases but it’s detecting more of ‘background’ infections because it’s more targeted, making it look like cases are soaring;
  • Bolton may be experiencing high infections because the virus was not widespread there before lockdown lifted and people did not build up any immunity;
  • Swab tests are still picking out too many people who aren’t infectious, and studying individuals’ viral loads could help officials to pick out those actually at risk of spreading it;
  • The country cannot test its way out of the outbreak and there must be a coherent strategy for what to do with knowledge of case numbers and a level that is acceptable;
  • Ambiguous phrases such as ‘Moonshot’ are not helpful for communicating the Government’s plans and have no basis in science, which should be paramount.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8744063/Septembers-normal-increase-coughs-colds-causing-utter-chaos-post-lockdown-Britain.html

Categories
News

Anders Tegnell and the Swedish Covid experiment – The Financial Times

As coronavirus cases rise in pretty much all other European countries, leading to fears of a second wave including in the UK, they have been sinking all summer in Sweden. On a per capita basis, they are now 90 per cent below their peak in late June and under Norway’s and Denmark’s for the first time in five months. Tegnell had told me the first time we spoke in the spring that it would be in the autumn when it became more apparent how successful each country had been.

https://www.ft.com/content/5cc92d45-fbdb-43b7-9c66-26501693a371

Categories
News Opinion

Face mask rule for school children imposed ‘without proper research’ professor says – Professor Carl Heneghan, Daily Mail

FORCING school children to wear masks is part of a scattergun approach by a government “lacking the political will” to study the actual evidence, a professor warns.

Dr Carl Heneghan said that the mask doctrine came into place even as the deputy chief medical officer admitted there was no strong evidence they would help with the disease. This was despite the social and psychological damage masking pupils would cause, he said. He pointed out that with drug interventions, high quality testing was required before they were implemented. 

…He said: “Wearing masks can interfere with social wellbeing. We clearly understand with drugs the need to do proper research on the benefits against the harms before we use them.

This is a huge intervention to impose on society with many unknowns and potentially damaging consequences, but we are not doing the research to justify it.”

Categories
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

Categories
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

Categories
News

Now Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries says the evidence that masks stop the spread of coronavirus is ‘not very strong in either direction’ – Daily Mail

The evidence on face coverings ‘is not very strong in either direction’, England’s deputy chief medical officer has said, leaving Britons confused once again over experts’ changing attitudes to masks.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8676535/Jenny-Harries-says-face-coverings-evidence-not-strong.html

Categories
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
Categories
News Opinion

UK lockdown was a ‘monumental mistake’ and must not happen again – The Express

LOCKDOWN will come to be seen as a “monumental mistake on a global scale” and must never happen again, a scientist who advises the Government on infectious diseases says.

Mark Woolhouse said lockdown was a “panic measure” but admitted it was the only option at the time because “we couldn’t think of anything better to do”.

But it is a crude measure that takes no accounts of the risk levels to different individuals, the University of Edinburgh professor said, meaning that back in March the nation was “concentrating on schools when we should have been concentrating on care homes”.

https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1320428/Coronavirus-news-lockdown-mistake-second-wave-Boris-Johnson

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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

Keeping schools open had no impact on contagion, Swedish study suggests – The Telegraph

Shutting down primary schools may have been unnecessary as a Swedish study suggests that keeping them open had no impact on contagion.

There was no measurable difference in the number of coronavirus cases among children in Sweden, where schools were left open, compared with neighboring Finland, where schools were shut, the research showed.

A working paper, published by the Public Health Agency of Sweden and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, compares the two countries’ approach to education during the pandemic.

Categories
Publications

Children rarely transmit COVID-19, doctors write in new commentary – Science Daily

The authors of the commentary, titled “COVID-19 Transmission and Children: The Child Is Not to Blame,” base their conclusions on a new study published in the current issue of Pediatrics, “COVID-19 in Children and the Dynamics of Infection in Families,” and four other recent studies that examine Covid-19 transmission by and among children.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200710100934.htm

Categories
Publications

To what extent do children transmit SARS‐CoV‐2 virus? – Wiley Online Library

The evidence to date suggests that children spread SARS‐CoV‐2 virus relatively rarely and that children are usually infected by symptomatic or pre‐symptomatic adults (in the first 48 h before they become symptomatic). During contact tracing, the China/World Health Organization joint commission recorded no episodes where transmission occurred from a child to an adult. A review of 31 family clusters of COVID‐19 from China, Singapore, the USA, South Korea and Vietnam, found only three (9.7%) clusters had a child as the index case and in all three clusters the child was symptomatic.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jpc.14937