Asteroid Virus Spin

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Feared coronavirus outbreaks in schools yet to arrive, early data show
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Thousands of students and teachers have become sick with the coronavirus since schools began opening last month, but public health experts have found little evidence that the virus is spreading inside buildings, and the rates of infection are far below what is found in the surrounding communities.

This early evidence, experts say, suggests that opening schools may not be as risky as many have feared and could guide administrators as they charter the rest of what is already an unprecedented school year.

“Everyone had a fear there would be explosive outbreaks of transmission in the schools. In colleges, there have been. We have to say that, to date, we have not seen those in the younger kids, and that is a really important observation,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

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Tracking infections over a two-week period beginning Aug. 31, it found that 0.23 percent of students had a confirmed or suspected case of the coronavirus. Among teachers, it was 0.49 percent. Looking only at confirmed cases, the rates were even lower: 0.078 percent for students and 0.15 percent for teachers.

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This topic was a very contentious argument a month ago. Donnie Shrimpfingers got criticized for "hypocrisy" as he urged the restart of schools while cancelling the GOP convention. Trump inconsistent? The hell you say. As always in this headlong rush into social destruction, the need to express anger and contempt for the Other Side is relentless. So rather than argue the merits of the case for keeping schools closed -- the Trump Deranged population of cyberspace base their argument on his personality.

So now, the "early" data suggests that it might not have been a bad idea to open public schools. But the headline assures the reader that the surge in misery "is yet to arrive." I do not claim that this data proves anything about the long term course of the virus. The long predicted "surge" in "cases" in schools could indeed arrive at any time. Or maybe not.

What bothers me about this aspect of the overall "debate" about public health policy is the triumphant tone when internet "news" stories relate anything that is scary -- more deaths, more cases, more proof that Trump is a shit head. When a snippet of news appears that cuts the other way, like this little tale, the MSM always qualifies and minimizes the good news while reminding the readers in the headline that you should not expect this good news to remain good.

Turning to the specifics of this article, those are indeed some small numbers of infections in this study. What little good news we get, we should appreciate.

Placing this into a national perspective, the fatalities will pass 200,000 soon if not already. I have seen headlines and internet posts proclaiming a "model" that predicts a death toll of 400.000 by early in the new year. This range of fatality certainly sounds ominous. As the death toll hits 200,000, we have lost six one hundredths of one percent of our population. When it doubles, we surpass one tenth of one percent of the population. That leaves it in the vicinity of half the fatalities from the 1918-20 Spanish Flu -- the worst epidemic in our history. Adjusted for population growth, the current death toll would have to multiply ten times over to match that health care crisis.

Our civilization was not destroyed by losing a bit less than one percent of our population then. The Roaring Twenties and a stock market bubble followed.

So in terms of cost-benefit analysis, we are weighing the consequences of trying to fight the virus with Shelter in Place against the death toll. It is a value judgment -- not science -- to pick between the two outcomes of hundreds of thousands or even millions of fatalities against the social pathology of destroying 30 million or so jobs.

This decision to shut down human interaction all over the world will be doing its damage for years at least, and most likely for ever. Yet all the headlines and political chatter are still couched in scary terms about spikes and surges and models predicting carnage. The typical American binary conception of every "story" renders the question as only whether you believe that the virus is a killer. Of course it is a killer and the loopy theories about how it is all a hoax are nonsense.

The point of view that I have held since I first heard about Shelter in Place is that all this talk about deaths from the virus have to be considered in light of how much damage this unprecedented attempt to shut down public life would do. After six months of this crap, I am really tired of the scare mongering.

Even good news comes under a headline promising bad news to come, when it comes to the virus.

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I have one grandchild in Helena MT doing two days a week in a downsized classroom wearing masks etc. (the rest of the week at home), and another grandchild in Milwaukee who is in a small "bubble school" created by a business person and a teacher (9 kids with all the protections). They are patched into their local school classrooms. It is not fun. But so far, they have not had to shut any of this down due to virus issues.
The numbers in terms of total population are important, and so is the comparison with the Spanish flu.

If we all keep the masks on and do all the rest, will we see and end to it? I doubt it. My money is on the Ab8 antibody treatment, especially when the vaccinations will only be 50% effective at best.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

Lookout's picture

I do too. Foolish spread as though they are trying to create herd immunity by sacrificing kids, their parent and grandparents, and teachers, A pandemic for profit...and I'm sticking to it.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

snoopydawg's picture

the Trump Deranged population of cyberspace base their argument on his personality.

No. I dislike Trump, but I’m not emotionally vested in hating him like I did Bush and do Obama. I think he’s just a puppet doing whatever he’s told to.

But I didn’t think it was a good idea to open schools when everything else has to stay closed. Can’t do conventions, fill a movie theater or even go to church in San Francisco, but you can pack schools and classrooms without risk?

If the numbers are just of people involved in schools then it’s not as good of news if it’s spreading in the communities. Are they tracking who’s getting infected from them? One wedding had 270 cases and 8 deaths, but none of the deaths were from people that attended the wedding. Then there’s Sturgis

When a snippet of news appears that cuts the other way, like this little tale, the MSM always qualifies and minimizes the good news while reminding the readers in the headline that you should not expect this good news to remain good.

Every morning before I turn on the computer I ask what the media will bitch about today and it’s usually something snide about Trump. It has been 4 years of constant moaning about what he said or did even when it really wasn’t bad.

Our civilization was not destroyed by losing a bit less than one percent of our population then.

What is still not known is how long people who have 'recovered' from it, but are left with chronic health issues will have them. People who have been left with heart, lung, brain problems probably don’t still have health insurance because they lost their jobs or got COVID with no sick leave might be paying out of pocket or not being treated if they have no money.

As for shutting down the country doing long term economic damage, it didn’t have to happen like it did. If we had taken it seriously from the beginning and if congress had bailed out the people instead of what they did things wouldn’t look so bleak now. But now we know that it’s been engineered this way by the elite so they can have a fire sale on businesses, apartment buildings and houses. I haven’t followed what’s happening across the pond, but most countries did the opposite and aren’t hurting as much.

Just rambling thoughts.

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“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

What is missing in this discussion is the now known data of who the coronavirus infects and who it actually kills. Unlike normal flu, Covid19 mainly threatens older people, especially the elderly. The median age of deaths by Covid19 in most countries is 80 years. Below age 60, mortality of those infected drops off rapidly. And when you get to below age 18, hardly anyone dies. For example, Sweden never closed its primary and secondary schools. There have been no student fatalities in Sweden due to Covid19--none, in a school population of about 1.8 million. And faculty infection rates and deaths have been less than the general population. Clearly, opening primary and secondary schools is not a big risk. At most, older faculty and staff may want to adopt social distancing measures. For the rest, schools can be run as normal.

Then there is the matter of herd immunity. This, unfortunately, is another phrase that has been politicized when it should not have been. Herd immunity is simply a medical term that refers to what happens to a population when exposed over time to a virus or similar pathogen. As a greater percentage of the population is exposed, more develop immunity and so the epidemic gradually subsides as the virus finds it more difficult to find people it can infect. Vaccines work on the same principle--that part of the population that has been vaccinated has immunity, the same as those who have survived the disease.

The percentage of the population that must have immunity for a pathogen to die out varies, according to a number of factors, but does not always have to be a high percentage. In the case of Covid19, we are finding out that as much as 60 percent of people may have some immunity to it already, due to past exposure to other corona viruses, T-cell immunity, and other factors. Here is a link to an article that explains all of this in detail:

https://judithcurry.com/2020/09/22/herd-immunity-to-covid-19-and-pre-exi...

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ovals49's picture

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“ We will move out of the capitalist model of competition and into a collaborative relationship with each other and with our ecosystem, or we will go extinct. It is that simple.” Caitlin Johnstone

ovals49's picture

but many will become vectors who infect parents, aunts and uncles and extended family members. Being asymptomatic does not preclude having been exposed and highly infective. The vast majority of transmission happens between family members who share a living space.

The small risk to the life of individual young children does not reflect the much greater risk that an infected child will pose to its family members. Policy decisions need to consider extended consequences as well.

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“ We will move out of the capitalist model of competition and into a collaborative relationship with each other and with our ecosystem, or we will go extinct. It is that simple.” Caitlin Johnstone

the universe is in charge and the virus is here to change our world, to change how we educate, to change how we interact, to bring about a new society. Pleasantry

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"When will our conscience's grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

"Few children will succumb to COVID
but many will become vectors who infect parents, aunts and uncles and extended family members."

Actually, that is not true. Studies of schools have shown that children hardly ever infect adults--when the teachers get Covid19, it is generally from another adult source. And studies within families have shown that the parents can infect the children, but for a child to infect a parent or other adult in the household is rare. We don't know why this is so, but one theory is that because children's sinus passages are not fully developed yet, they simply don't carry as much of the virus when infected.

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ovals49's picture

Children infected with COVID-19 can still transmit the virus and infect adults, even if they are asymptomatic, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Link:

Link to CDC Report

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“ We will move out of the capitalist model of competition and into a collaborative relationship with each other and with our ecosystem, or we will go extinct. It is that simple.” Caitlin Johnstone