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Covid Advice #9 (07/14/2020):

- from Dr. Dennis Fong -

Some school districts have announced that, come mid or late August, they are reopening in-person school. If you live in such a school district I would say you should start arranging for home schooling immediately. Maybe get together with other parents in the same class and pool your resources together. Start contacting the home schooling support organizations now - they can give you curriculum and materials and so forth.

A lot of school districts are having parents vote on the matter; I say vote no. A lot of school districts are going to do video lessons instead of in-person school; I say that's wonderful.

Yes, kids at home are driving a lot of parents crazy, but it makes no sense to go back, we kicked kids out of school when things were far safer than they are now. Yes, kids usually don't get real sick or die with Covid, but there are still a few. Even if it's only a miniscule 0.1% that die, and even if only 5% of kids get Covid from going to school and 95% don't, then in 56 million American school kids that's going to be 2.8 million cases and 2,800 deaths. That's like a 9-11 (2,996 deaths), but all kids. In comparison, with the measles outbreak 2018-2019 that caused such a big scare there were only about 2,000 cases and no deaths.

The problem for the 99.9%, the ones who don't get sick or don't get that sick is that we don't know what health problems Covid can cause down the line. We know it attacks all organs, not just the lungs, but we don't know if it attacks the ovaries or testes for having kids when the kids themselves grow up. We know in severe cases bad enough to need hospitalization, Covid causes widespread blood clots that can cause multiple strokes, heart attacks, and clogging of the lungs and kidneys, but we don't know whether in mild cases some blood clots do form and silent strokes and heart attacks do happen, and whether this happens in kids. We know some kids who had Covid, even though no or little symptoms, are now getting a Pediatric Inflammatory Multi-organ Syndrome (PIMS), that looks like Kowazaki disease, where all kinds of organs get inflamed and the kids can even die or be handicapped, the difference being it's happening in 8-10 year olds instead of 2 year olds. As for long term effects years down the road, we have no idea.

Plus, in the short term, the kids will bring it home to the parents. Even if many of these parents don't get sick, the pool of asymptomatic carriers will get really huge, the old people will eventually get it since they do have to have contact with working age people, and this winter a great many more deaths will occur.

If we are even half as prudent with Covid for our kids as we were with the measles outbreak, we wouldn't be letting them go back to in-person school.

Well then when can they go back?

I think kids can go back when it's mandatory to get a Covid vaccine to come to class, and when there is at least one medication that can treat Covid. Then it will be like the flu on college campuses nowadays. Covid is worse than the flu but I think the risk would be acceptable then.

Don't kids need in-person school for their development?

I am not sure that's valid. All these tens of thousands of home-schooled kids all these decades have turned out just fine.

But doesn't the American Academy of Pediatrics call strongly for kids returning to in-person school?

I think the Amercian Academy of Pediatrics is wrong. It says that kids don't get infected with Covid easily, and they don't tend to spread Covid. I don't see any convincing data on that, and the Academy doesn't present any.

To Do:
Vote no if your school district is conducting a vote whether to reopen in-person classes. And arrange for home schooling if your school district is reopening in-person classes; get together with other parents and contact a home schooling organization.

It's only going to be a year. One day when your kids look at their less fortunate friends who went back to school they will thank you, or, even if those friends turn out OK, your kids will at least appreciate your sacrifice.

Wish you happiness! Stay healthy and stay safe!

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