Schools May Not be as Big a Spreader of Coronavirus as Previously Feared
Whether schools should remain open, closed, or a little of both has been an ongoing controversy since the coronavirus pandemic erupted last year. But some data suggest schools aren’t the hotbeds of virus transmission they were once (and in many cases, still) feared to be.
Like almost everything else surrounding the virus, one’s views on school openings and closings have become a political litmus test. But that may be changing:
Schools in Republican strongholds that had few virus restrictions to begin with enthusiastically reopened, often without mask mandates.
But even as many Democratic-run states and cities keep schools closed, others in the party have shifted their views. At a Dec. 8 event, President-elect Joe Biden said he aimed to get 100 million Americans vaccinated and to have most schools open within 100 days of the start of his administration. Democratic governors have also joined the call to reopen schools, including Murphy in New Jersey and Govs. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island.
So have parents across the ideological spectrum, and some prominent epidemiologists, such as Ashish Jha, a physician and the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, who said in an interview that the data, while less than perfect, suggests that schools are not driving transmission.
All the more reason to keep gathering data – and above all, to have a robust vaccination effort that maximizes the number of people getting jabs.
And all the more reason to be outraged at the thoroughly bungled effort to get vaccines to the general public. There’s also the usual nonsense from elected officials such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is threatening to prosecute those who offer vaccines more broadly, rather than following the state’s proscribed list of recipients.