President Donald Trump has called for the nation’s schools to open this fall; the left, predictably enough, has fought back, characterizing such a viewpoint as mad — mad! — in the face of COVID-19 risks to children.
But Trump’s right. Keeping schools closed any longer would be all politics, all fear-fueled nonsense, zero science.
According to recent statistics from the federal government’s own health bureaucracies, this season’s flu has killed 176 kids. Yes. One-hundred and seventy-six. COVID-19, in comparison, has been attributed to the deaths of three children.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report” ending the week of May 16: “Laboratory confirmed flu activity as reported by clinical laboratories remains low. Influenza-like illness activity continues to decrease and is below the national baseline. The percent of deaths due to pneumonia or influenza is decreasing but remains elevated, primarily due to COVID-19, not influenza. Reported pediatric flu deaths for the season are high at 176.”
Dig a little deeper into history and it gets even more interesting.
The CDC reports that in the 2016-2017 flu season, there were 110 “influenza-associated pediatric deaths.” In 2017-18, there were 188; in 2018-19, there were 144.
And remember: that’s with a shot.
That’s with a flu vaccine. Yet America kept open the schools. Yet American children slogged to school each and every day.
Now comes COVID-19.
Now compare the flu in kids to COVID-19 in kids.
“In the United States, as of April 2, 2020, there have been three deaths among children with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection that have been reported to CDC, but the contribution of SARS-CoV-2 infection to the cause of death in these cases is unclear,” CDC reports.
That bit of information comes from the CDC’s “Information for Pediatric Healthcare Providers” webpage, updated May 20 — which means the COVID-19 child death counts from April, at three, still hold true.
The data justifying a continued shutdown of schools just isn’t there.
“In the United States, 2% of [1.6 million] confirmed cases of COVID-19 were among persons aged [less than] 18 years,” CDC wrote.
And only three proved fatal.
Yet here’s The Week’s take, in a recent scathing criticism: “President Trump wants my kid to go back to school. I am not ready to shoulder the risks of that decision.”
Oh. My. Gosh.
Open the schools. Open the schools “ASAP,” as Trump tweeted.
Kids go to school every year, day in, day out, as flu seasons come, flu seasons go. And they die — dozens upon dozens of children die each year.
If parents can shoulder the risks of sending children to school during flu season, parents can shoulder the risks of sending them to school during the coronavirus.
The data is clear: Schools — all schools — should open this fall.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.