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Horowitz: De Blasio’s flat-earth ‘science’ behind shutting schools


'I can't stress how dangerous this is for our young people'

Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg/Getty Images

New York City police are pulling their hair out dealing with the recidivism of all the dangerous criminals Mayor Bill de Blasio has released onto the streets. But de Blasio has suddenly discovered his concern for community danger. No – not the man he released who allegedly just robbed a victim at knifepoint, but a local Jewish day school that reopened its doors for classes.

Actually, the mayor is correct in asserting that he "can't stress how dangerous this is for our young people." COVID-19 is not dangerous at all for school-age children, at least not any more than the typical risk associated with driving to school or getting harmed by one of the sex offenders or robbers de Blasio released from Rikers Island.

Just how low is the risk to children? Yesterday, Avik Roy, president of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, posted an age-stratified risk chart comparing the risk of dying of the flu to the risk of dying of COVID-19. Here is the data, based on information from the CDC:

I would argue that the risk of healthy people dying of COVID-19, as compared to the flu, is even more favorable than this data suggests, because nearly all of the deaths from COVID-19 are among those with several known conditions, whereas flu-related ICU admissions, with children placed on life support, as reported by doctors in New York City just this year, were observed among children who were not immunocompromised.

Nevertheless, if we use this data, it means children are nearly seven times more likely to die of the flu than of the coronavirus, yet de Blasio never thought of shutting the schools for the flu. In fact, in March, before this issue became political and common sense was still in order, de Blasio himself thought shutting the schools was a dumb idea. "What are these kids going to do?" de Blasio asked. "Do we really believe these kids will hole up in their rooms for a month?" Well, now he wants them to be holed up indefinitely for months.

What does he think will happen to the immune systems of healthy school-age children who are treated like bubble boys for months on end? Imagine what next year's flu and cold season will bring.

Just how much more of a risk is the flu to children than COVID-19? A group of British pediatric doctors posted a chart online comparing COVID-19 deaths among children to flu deaths over the same period of time beginning in February. This is not even a comparison to flu deaths over a typical flu season (which would include December and January), but rather a comparison over the course of the epidemic, which includes April and May, which typically have few deaths from the flu. But still, at least in the United States, flu deaths have been much higher.

And guess which European country seems to have the lowest infection rate among kids? Sweden! Yes, the country that didn't shut down schools for young children.

As for children transmitting the disease to adults, data from Iceland, the U.K., Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Netherlands, France, and Taiwan already show that children have little or no role in transmitting the virus to adults. They can get the virus from adults, but it is not a danger to them in any statistically meaningful numbers. Nonetheless, to play it safe, we can continue keeping children away from vulnerable adults. Doing so doesn't require shutting down schools.

Now, nearly all the European countries have opened or plan to open schools. America is now dead last in terms of liberty and science. Think about that for a moment. Democrats in this country, such as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, have become such flat-earthers that they are promoting policies of lingering lockdowns until there is a "widely available" vaccine. This has never been done in human history and is being rejected by nearly every other country.

Where are Republicans? Where is the veto threat of the president to deny bailout funding to states unless they end this nonsense? Instead, several Republicans in the Senate — Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) — are pushing for an additional $500 billion rewarding the bad behavior of these states – to cover and incentivize the very carnage they created.

What has become clear is that the schools are the lynchpin to this entire charade. It is not science that is driving the shutdown of schools, but politics. Yet this political decision helps drive a self-fulfilling circuitous cycle of fear and panic – as if there is a threat to children. The minute schools open up, which will be the single most decisive factor in returning families to their daily lives, the lockdowns will fall by the wayside. Unfortunately for us, people like de Blasio have worked too hard and accumulated too much power through the lockdowns to let this go. Science be damned.

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