No, they’re not.
Courtesy of WaPo:
“More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don’t get it and transmit it themselves, so we should be in a posture of — the default should be getting back to school kids in person, in the classroom.”
— Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, in an interview on “The Conservative Circus” (iHeart radio), July 16
It’s easy to find studies and news reports that contradict DeVos’s assertion:
South Korea: A large study using contact tracing found that children ages 10 to 19 can spread the virus at least as much as adults do; children younger than 10 were half as likely to transmit the virus, but there was still a risk.
- Israel: At least 1,335 students and 691 staff members contracted the coronavirus after Israel reopened its entire school system without restrictions on May 17, believing it had beaten the virus. The spike in infections among the children spread to the general population, according to epidemiological surveys by Israel’s Health Ministry. As of mid-July, 125 schools and 258 kindergartens have been closed because of infections. (One study suggested that the disease spread quickly at a high school, affecting more than 260 people, during a heat wave, when mask rules were suspended and air conditioning was in constant use.)
- New York: An asymptomatic child attending family in-home day care in DeWitt led to four families getting sick, including six children at the day care, one sibling, seven parents and two grandmothers.
- In the United States, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 241,904 child coronavirus cases were reported as of July 16, with children representing 8 percent of all cases. There was a 46 percent increase in child cases from July 2 to July 16, although mortality remains low, with 24 states reporting no child deaths so far.
Although there have been relatively few deaths of children — fewer than 70, according to state reports — about 3.3 million adults ages 65 and older live in a household with school-age children, according to a July 16 analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s about 6 percent of all seniors in the United States, who have a greater chance of becoming severely ill from the virus if a child becomes infected.
Michael T. Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said that too often people have latched on to studies that later turn out to be flawed. “There have been so many studies, sometimes with strident conclusions, only to be blown out of the water later” when conditions change, he said. “The bottom-line message is that school-age kids will see transmissions. How much is unclear, but they definitely are not brakes.”
In America, we are used to our Secretary of Education making decisions that are in the best interests of our children.
Having one that is willing to sacrifice our children in order to please her boss is new, and deeply troubling.