Better late than never. Perhaps because he believes Joe Biden will be inaugurated in January, Dr. Fauci is finally admitting that children do not get terribly ill from or transmit COVID-19 in any significant way. Weird, since Switzerland figured this out in April. Detailed genetic studies in Iceland showed that children were not passing the virus to adults in any significant numbers in June. And German researchers asserted that children could actually act as a brake on transmission within the community.
But good old “follow the science” Fauci was wringing his hands and hedging his bets in the media and during congressional testimony. Most notably, he got into a heated exchange with Senator Rand Paul, who is also a doctor.
Senator Paul correctly noted Sweden’s experience, which never closed their primary schools and did not see a spike in childhood illness. Germany also reopened schools in July with no significant issues. Since the summer, most industrialized countries have reopened schools, and many do not enforce distancing or mask-wearing. But this did not impress Dr. Fauci.
Paul noted the devastating effects of school closures, especially on disadvantaged children. It is only in the next decade that we will understand the impact of all the missed support services on these children. However, we do know many are not logging in for digital learning. Failure rates have also gone up where children only engage in distance learning.
Doctors and other agencies note increases in child abuse, depression, and other mental health issues in children. There has also been an uptick in self-harm and suicidal ideation. This, over a respiratory virus with an infection fatality rate (IFR) of 0.13%, according to the WHO, which is very stratified by age and tends to affect the very elderly.
This debate raged on through the summer, when President Trump said reopening schools was a priority. It became gobsmackingly stupid when mayors and governors began to convert public space to daycare centers where children could engage in distance learning. Yet, they would not reopen schools. State leaders who chose to, such as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Ron DeSantis in Florida, were widely criticized.
They were also widely covered for a bumpy first week. Then nothing bad happened. So, you really don’t hear about them anymore, likely because these states would blow up the preferred narrative. Your children can’t go to school because Donald Trump is president, basically. A health official in Los Angeles even said the quiet part out loud.
Because Dr. Fauci and other Health Experts™ would not realistically frame the virus’s risk for children, teachers’ unions used the pandemic as cover for their destructive political agenda. In many urban districts, they refused to return unless political demands were met. We also saw just how far left these organizations were when they joined radical protests with the Democratic Socialists of America and other groups. Their list of demands was a cornucopia of dangerous policies, such as defunding the police. Now, one of these radicals will likely lead the Department of Education. Fabulous.
But now that the Very Bad Orange Man is presumed to be leaving office, Dr. Fauci can report what this author and many other outlets have been reporting for months:
“Look at the data, the spread from children and among children is not very big at all, not like one would have suspected.”
— Aaron Ginn (@aginnt) November 29, 2020
Actually, it was what anyone who was paying attention should have expected. By the time the virus ripped through Italy, it was apparent that the elderly and those with preexisting conditions were at the greatest risk. Dr. Birx was communicating that in the earliest briefings. Once the Iceland genetic and German studies came out, it should have been confirmed. As we watched other nations’ experiences, especially those that never closed schools, we could have made reasonable assumptions and moved forward.
But we didn’t. And our children will be paying for years to come in some of the more ridiculous areas of the country. New York City and Kentucky just closed schools again. Los Angeles has never opened them. One has to wonder what excuse they will use now—or if one is no longer necessary because they believe they won an election.