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The finer points of getting kids back in school this fall

(© alexandra –

There have been 31 COVID-19 deaths among those 14 and under in the United States. Less than a third of the number of kids under 14 who have died this year from the flu.

One, COVID-19 is more contagious than the flu. And two, those numbers you’re citing, that’s with schools closed for four months. And those flu deaths that you brought up, they happened before the shutdowns.

The CDC tells us an estimated 30-45 million Americans get the flu each year, and that 15-20 million require a doctor’s visit.

At the moment, we have 3.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, and a lot of arguments about how many more people have been exposed.

Which is more contagious? The jury is still out.

Sequestered, you could say.

Bada bing.


To the other issues raised here, the peak of Virginia’s flu season was in May, a month and a half after the school year was shut down.

Which throws water on the point about the flu deaths happening before the shutdowns.

The late peak also raises issue with the point about relative contagiousness.

If flu is really so lacking in terms of its ability to spread, it should have disappeared with the shutdowns and COVID flying around all over the place.

It didn’t. It peaked six weeks into the shutdowns.

OK, so, the shutdowns slowed the flu peak. See, they worked!

Slowed it. Didn’t stop it.

Just delayed the inevitable.

Closing everything down, including the schools, was wholly unnecessary.

Particularly with the schools. Zero reported deaths among those under 20 in Virginia, with a case-hospitalization rate of 1.5 percent, one-seventh of the rate of adults. And most of their cases are asymptomatic.

Thanks. Knew you were going there. Asymptomatic cases are still a huge issue with COVID. Much more so than with the flu. We don’t know what kids passing COVID-19 around like the flu will do to the older populations in the schools, the teachers, support staff, administrators.

The New England Journal of Medicine says influenza is also asymptomatic in most people – up to three-quarters of annual cases.

And, yes, as common sense would seem to dictate, asymptomatic flu can be transmitted to others.

Basically, we have plenty of experience with virus spread in our schools.

The flu kills as many as 800 kids and sends another 3.5 million to the doctor each year.

We don’t close schools at the peak of flu season.

Maybe we should. Maybe we will. Great idea.

This is where I concede that I can’t win this argument and wave the white flag.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press