Going back to full lockdown, but keeping schools open, wouldn’t reduce the R-number when the highest infected demographic are young people aged between 10-19.
It beggars belief that only a few short weeks ago both Sir Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson insisted children return to schools irrespective of the fact the supposed essential ‘track and trace’ app or that workable covid testing was not in place.
Starmer crossed the media divide and wrote an article in the Daily Mail stating in no uncertain terms ‘No ifs, no buts’ children must return to school Sir Keir Starmer was adamant in his approach saying:
“So, let me send a very clear message to the Prime Minister: I don’t just want all children back at school next month, I expect them back at school. No ifs, no buts, no equivocation. Let me be equally clear: it is the Prime Minister’s responsibility to guarantee children get the education they need and the benefit of being back with their teachers and classmates.”- SIR KEIR STARMER FOR THE DAILY MAIL
Today Starmer announced he wants to see a full English lockdown minus schools
Sir Keir admitted a short lockdown would “require significant sacrifices across the country” and would mean people in England only being able to make essential travel and working from home if they can.
He also called for people to be banned from mixing with other households – apart from those who have formed a support bubble – and the shutting of all bars, pubs and restaurants.
But the Labour leader said it would not mean closing schools.
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, in response to Boris Johnson’s announcement of a new three-tier system for localised coronavirus restrictions, Sir Keir said there was “no longer time to give the prime minister the benefit of the doubt”.
But we doubt Starmer knows what he is doing either
It is clear the return to school has exasperated the infraction rate of children exponentially, young people between 10 and 19 are the most infected age group by far. In many areas, high restrictions under local lockdowns are in place and nowhere has returned to normal yet the R-Rate is climbing resulting in hospitalisation and the many tragic deaths recurring.
Laura Pidcock tweeted in response to Starmer’s disjointed so-called ‘circuit break’ saying: A ‘circuit break’ must include school closures (or back to lockdown provision). Anything less than that that will be inadequate to slow the spread of the virus. None of us want to be here. We are here because we have been relentlessly failed by government.
A ‘circuit break’ must include school closures (or back to lockdown provision). Anything less than that that will be inadequate to slow the spread of the virus. None of us want to be here. We are here because we have been relentlessly failed by government.— Laura Pidcock (@LauraPidcock) October 13, 2020
In August the government released a study to supplement their argument that children should return to school, it showed children under 16 made up just 1% of coronavirus cases in the first peak of the virus in England, despite accounting for around 19% of the population, according to a study, led by Public Health England (PHE), said it provides further proof of the “limited role of children” in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Children accounted for 1.1% of all cases of coronavirus, when considered in light of positive cases for COVID-19 among all age groups. There were eight deaths of children with the virus during the time the study was being carried out. In four of the cases, another cause of death was identified and COVID-19 was reported to be “incidental or an indirect contributor to death”, the authors said. “Sars-CoV-2 [COVID-19] positivity was low even in children with acute respiratory infection. “Our findings provide further evidence against the role of children in infection and transmission of Sars-CoV-2.”
The authors include experts from PHE, the University of Oxford, the Evelina children’s hospital, King’s College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
A “key” unanswered question, according to the authors, is whether children who do not display symptoms may be contributing to transmitting the virus.
But they cite separate research which shows low infection rates among children, as well as a separate study which found that among household infections children were “never the first to be infected or to be the source of infection in the household”.
Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the study confirms international evidence “that children and young people as a group are little affected by this virus, even showing a slight reduction in total excess deaths”.
Dr Mike Tildesley from the University of Warwick, said it provides “further supporting evidence” that the full reopening of schools “should represent an extremely low risk to any individual child”.
He added: “With this in mind, the vast majority of parents should feel reassured regarding the safety of their children when schools reopen, though given the likely role of infected children in transmission, parents and teachers with underlying health conditions may need to take precautions in order to minimise their own risk over the coming months.”
It’s perfectly clear without closing schools, a lockdown is a waste of time
Yesterday the Chief medical adviser Chris Whitty presented the British public with new data showing that children are the biggest carriers of the virus. This comes 8 weeks after schools reopened.
For those that like charts
Age analysis of the number of people in England who had COVID-19
In recent weeks, there has been clear evidence of an increase in the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). We have recently updated our age categories to separate children and young people by school age:
- “age two years to school Year 6” includes those children in primary school and below
- “school Year 7 to school Year 11” includes those children in secondary school
- “school Year 12 to age 24 years” includes those young adults who may be in further or higher education
This means that 11- to 12-year-olds have been split between the youngest age categories depending on whether they are in school Year 6 or 7 (birthday before or after 1 September).
Similarly, 16- to 17-year-olds are split depending on whether they are in school Year 11 or 12 (birthday before or after 1 September).
The highest rates appear among older teenagers and young adults (school Year 12 to age 24), where rates have grown very rapidly in the most recent weeks. The second highest rates are seen in the secondary school age group (school Year 7 to school Year 11). Increases are also apparent across the other age groups, but to a much lesser extent. This is based on statistical modelling of nose and throat swab test results.
In the data used to produce these estimates, the number of people sampled in the different age groups who tested positive for COVID-19 is lower relative to England overall. This means there is a higher degree of uncertainty in estimates for individual age groups over this period, as indicated by larger credible intervals.
Figure 5: COVID-19 infection rates are highest among older teenagers and young adults
Estimated percentage of the population testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs, daily, by age group since 21 August 2020, England
The one saving grace is, of course, children are by far more able to overcome the virus but it is very clear that their ability to combat the virus may also be the reason it is travelling so fast throughout that age group and infecting the less fortunate.