CDC Director Robert Redfield says that youth are likelier to be negatively impacted by suicides, drugs, and influenza than if they were exposed to COVID-19.
What are the details?
Redfield made the remarks during a Buck Institute webinar livestream on July 14.
During the discussion, Redfield — a proponent of reopening U.S. schools amid the coronavirus pandemic — said that there is a very low coronavirus risk for children who do not have pre-existing conditions.
He also said that people should be more concerned about suicides and drug overdoses among youth, as their numbers are "far greater" when compared to COVID-19 deaths in youth.
"But there has been another cost that we've seen, particularly in high schools," he said. "We're seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from COVID. We're seeing far greater deaths from drug overdose that are above excess that we had as background than we are seeing the deaths from COVID."
Youth deaths 1 in 1 million
Elsewhere during the webinar, Redfield said that it would be a bigger detriment to the children of the country to keep schools closed.
Pointing out that millions of children receive mental health as well as meal services from their schools, Redfield reasoned that the benefit of schools opening far outweigh any potential negatives.
"Obviously, the socialization is important," he added. "And obviously, for some kids — I think actually a majority of kids — their learning in a face-to-face school is the most effective method of teaching."
Redfield said that parents should be comfortable and confident in decisions to reopen schools and insisted that the annual influenza is more of a danger to children than COVID-19.
“I think it is important to try to be factual as we go through this," he explained. “When we look at, right now, the mortality of this particular COVID virus, in the first almost 218,000 people we looked at February to July, there was 52 individuals under the age of 18. And if I recollect, about 35 were actually school age. Some of them were younger than school age. We're looking critically at those individuals. And, you know, clearly, there's an increase in comorbidities related to significant medical conditions."
He also said that when you get right down to it, numbers show that literally one in 1 million children will die because of the coronavirus and that child deaths due to the seasonal flu are anywhere from five to 10 times greater.
“We're looking at about .1 per 100,000," he said of the mortality rate among youth. "So another way to say that, it's one in a million. Now, I'm not trying to belittle that, I'm just trying to make sure we look at it proportional. Because if you do the same thing for influenza deaths for school-age children over the last five years, they're anywhere from five to 10 times greater."
He continued, "I want people to understand the risk properly as they make that decision. And, obviously, influenza, we also benefit from having therapy and a vaccine. So I don't want people to overestimate the risk of serious illness to individuals that are school age."
Redfield admitted that there is still a very tangible risk to teachers who are older and have possible health complications.
"Let's all work together and find out how we can find common ground to get these schools open in a way that people are comfortable and they're safe," he later stated. "And if there is a need for investment and resources, just like there is a need for some of the underprivileged children that are probably better served if they have certain comorbidities to do homeschooling, they need the access to be able to have the computer and the internet to do that."
What's the solution?
The goal is to get all these kids back into education. I'd like to see the goal being face-to-face education, five days a week, as when we get there, then we've got there for those children that don't have an underlying significant comorbidity that would preclude it. And, hopefully, the states and the federal government will work together to see that the resources to get these schools fully operational come to bear.
CDC Director says There are More Suicides and Overdoses than COVID Deaths www.youtube.com
(H/T: The Daily Wire)