English schools will open tomorrow in their majority, despite evidence of the new strain’s infection rate amongst all ages, including school pupils. Is it to be as disastrous as believed?
Schools have been a bit of a sore point in England. Whilst Scotland shut its doors to pupils until the 18th of January at the earliest, England has been lagging behind in its decision. This is in light of the mutant strain of covid doing the rounds, and the fear it may be far more infectious within school children.
Scotland announced its decision before Christmas, but England have yet to come to a decision-having only just decided to keep schools closed in London.
But how infectious is it?
How much do we actually know regarding covid 20 infection within children? So, when I say covid 20-I mean the mutated strain that has become apparent within British shores and across the globe. It is estimated to be 70% more infectious than the previous covid 19 strain. The initial strain that emerged in Europe was dubbed covid 19…because that is the year it emerged.
Therefore, covid 20 is a new variant from 2020. Yet, unlike the previous variant-it is thought to be far more infectious in children, and this spells catastrophe if it were to be true. But what do we know so far?
When I enter the question into Google, it tells me children are just as infectious as adults regarding covid 19. Interesting, because the government line does not carry this message. The message has been: that it is not as infectious in children. I have always disputed this personally, because everyone knows children spread any other coronavirus (colds/flu) like wildfire.
They do go on to query if it is as infectious in children, and suggest it may be so but they cannot be definite about that.
Undoubtedly, covid 19 has not been as dangerous to children as it has to older adults; and the government do spread this message. They say there is little risk to school age children. And yet, this has not been the entire message. The message has been: children are not as infectious. The main government website does say there is some evidence signifying lesser transmission within children, but it is not enough to make conclusions upon.
But still, all children were sent back to school after the summer, and here we are in this situation. If they had split the classes, we may not have had to close schools this winter.
If covid 19 is as infectious in children therefore, as it is in adults-then covid 20 (the mutated variant) will have a party in a class of 30. So even before examining what we actually know of this variant-we already know the previous one was infectious.
So How Does The Mutant Strain Make Children More Infectious?
Paediatrician’s reassure parents that children are not at increased risk from this new mutated strain, but there is increased transmission within children compared to the previous strain.
SAGE themselves have said the R Rate (infection rate) will not come down if children go back to school, and this is why both Northern Ireland and Scotland will not be returning to school after Christmas. Nervtag have reiterated the same message. The evidence is too compelling to ignore, and although not definitive-there isn’t time to wait for definitive.
The general consensus seems to be that the variant is more infectious across all age groups and that will have a catastrophic effect upon the community if schools return.
So Why Are Schools In England Only Partially Closing?
A big part of the reason lies with the tier system. All of England is still in a tier system, despite the new variant multiplying in the South of England. And so England is still under this mentality of treating this problem individually, when it is now a collective issue-and always has been. All schools in London will be closed until further notice, but the rest of England will open up tomorrow, with most schools returning!
“Dither, dither, dither”.
All of England is ‘a dither’, it really is incredible they wait so long to make decisions, and usually at the last minute. Many reporters and commentators speaking out on Sky News today (Sunday 3rd January) are speculating a U-turn-once again in this decision to keep schools largely open in England. It would not be the first U-turn.
Really, England needed to go into a full lockdown weeks ago-as soon as they identified this new variant, and this may have stopped the spread of it.
“It May Be That We Need To Do Things, In The Next Few Weeks, That Will Be Tougher”
Boris Johnson this morning on The Andrew Marr Show. Evidently Borris, especially if you are opening schools up; but how much tougher can it get? The South of England is already in tier 4! All we can do in that tier: is go to the supermarket.
I’m not sure how much more we can do once in tier 4. Perhaps if he had locked the whole country down then we wouldn’t need to discuss schools closing so much, but that is not the case.
Needless to say, Boris-you are skating on thin ice.