Missed in the headlines from yesterday’s Senate hearing is the implication from Dr. Anthony Fauci’s assertion that it may not be safe to reopen schools even in the fall. What that means is that any existence of a virus, even when is causes fewer death in kids than the flu, is now a pretext for closing schools and destroying a generation of education, children’s mental health, and parents’ ability to work and provide. This is unacceptable, and it’s time for Trump to #FireFauci.
Shutting down the schools was a colossal mistake. Kids have next to zero risk from the virus, and study after study has shown that they have little or no transmissibility to adults (data from Iceland, UK, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Netherlands, France, and Taiwan) The collateral damage of closing schools is enormous and outweighs any risk we take – and the risk during every flu season is already much higher. This is why even the worst lockdown countries – from Israel and Australia to Norway and France – are reopening schools. Our government, on the other hand, is not directed by science, so nearly every state has closed schools for the rest of the year. But summer camps and school in the fall will be on schedule, right? Especially with so few deaths occurring now outside of nursing homes, right?
In a hearing full of Republicans who sounded like Democrats, Senator Rand Paul was the only one who stood up for the American people and noted the low fatality rate for most people and that there is no science behind closing schools. Bristled by Rand’s charge that Fauci is not “the end-all,” Fauci responded by saying, "We don't know everything about this virus and we really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children.”
Then he pulled out his latest trick, the Kawasaki-like disease they are seeing in New York City among children. "For example, right now, children presenting with COVID-19 who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome very similar to Kawasaki syndrome," added Fauci as a rationale for continuing to close schools.
Kawasaki is something that causes over 5,000 hospitalizations in young children some years, and we never hear about it. Fauci and the purveyors of perpetual panic porn point to the fact that some of those kids in New York tested positive for COVID-19 to insinuate some sort of relationship. But the New York serology study showed that roughly one-quarter of all city residents have contracted COVID-19, so naturally any studied population for any medical analysis will contain people who test positive.
At the end of the hearing, Chairman Lamar Alexander asked Fauci to clarify whether he meant to say there should be no schooling until we have a vaccine. He replied that he was “absolutely not” saying we should wait for a vaccine but that it will depend on the testing capacity and the "dynamic of the outbreak in the region."
Earlier in the hearing, in response to a question from Alexander, Fauci also seemed skeptical about opening colleges in the fall.
So Fauci is now laying the groundwork for a lower threshold of risk to trigger mass school closures than the flu. Every year you can find numerous media articles about children dying of the flu. Just a few weeks before coronavirus was declared a pandemic, CNN was reporting on a record number of children dying from the flu. In early January, the network reported on an unprecedented harsh flu season causing the death of children in NYC. One New York doctor was quoted as saying these kids being seen in hospitals and on life support weren’t even immunocompromised.
In total, according to the CDC, 174 children died from the flu this winter. Nobody in the country even knew about it. Yet when it comes to the religion of coronavirus panic, which had fewer deaths even at its peak among children than the flu, let alone now, it is a pretext for closing schools unless we conduct endless testing and meet impossible benchmarks.
According to the CDC, “For children (0-17 years), COVID-19 hospitalization rates are much lower than influenza hospitalization rates during recent influenza seasons.” Consider that as of May 6, only 10 children 14 or younger had died from COVID-19, according to the CDC, as opposed to 174 from this flu season.
Just this week, JAMA pediatrics published the results of a major study of 46 COVID-19 pediatric patients from the U.S. and Canada treated in PICUs, 40 of whom had “significant preexisting comorbidities.” Among other things, they concluded that, “children are at far greater risk of critical illness from influenza than from COVID-19.”
One final concern from the hearing is that nobody pressed Fauci on why so many European countries are opening schools now and whether the CDC or NIH have data refuting the endless studies that show little or no transmission from children to adults. Either they have the data and don’t want to share it, or they are criminally negligent by not using their tens of billions in new funding to study this issue.
Finally, has Fauci ever thought about the consequences of taking the young and healthy and turning them into bubble babies for a year? What will this do to them when they eventually get exposed to all sorts of viruses and bacteria that typically did not harm them with a stronger immune system? What will happen to them next flu season? Is he now going to use next flu season as a pretext to close schools?
There’s a reason why “Bubble Boy” is a fictional movie and not a way of life.