By John A. Tures
President Donald Trump is demanding that schools reopen in the Fall, threatening to cut off funds to schools that don’t, even forcing the CDC to change its guidelines to fit his medical gut instinct.
But without a scientific approach and creative public policy measures implemented by schools and local officials, it will be America under threat of continued rising cases and deaths. We know this from evidence coming from the very countries Trump cited.
“Corrupt Joe Biden and the Democrats don’t want to open schools in the Fall for political reasons, not for health reasons! They think it will help them in November. Wrong, the people get it!” Trump tweeted on July 6, following by a threat two days later.
“In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”
Actually, while Germany, Denmark and Norway flattened the curve, with the very policies the President now chafes at, Sweden embarked upon the minimal restrictions that Trump and his advisers seem to prefer.
The resulting number of cases per capita is seventh in the world, according to Statista (from Johns Hopkins and World Bank data) at the end of June. Their death rate is nearly four times higher than Denmark’s, more than six times higher than Finland’s and more than seven times higher than Norway’s. This is one Swedish model nobody should admire.
Sweden never shut down its schools.
Cecelia Söderberg-Nauclér, an infectious disease expert, demanded her government end their experiment with lax measures.
As reported by the CBC, “One crucial step she says would be to close all of Sweden’s schools immediately. While children appear to be less affected by the COVID-19 virus than adults, they act as carriers, she says. ‘They can still be a driver of the whole infection in society. They are an engine, basically.’”
Such dangers of using kids and family petri dishes of disease is why the Canadians chose not to adopt the dangerous policy.
It’s not just Sweden.
The U.K. adopted a similarly reckless plan to shelter older people and let younger folks get infected (according to the CBC report), but that was abandoned when the Imperial College of London demonstrated how badly the cases and deaths would overwhelm the country’s health care system. And their death rate even tops Sweden’s.
Not only can kids act as carriers, spreading the disease to homes, fellow students, educators and other school employees, but also, they’re increasing catching it themselves. The number of children getting COVID-19 is on the rise in Ohio, and it’s not solely because of more testing.
That’s a story repeating in state after state, like Texas and their day care experience.
It’s also not wise to conclude that every survivor is doing “fine” afterwards too. Forbes reported those trying to recover can get hallucinations and neurological disorders, while SFGate documented cases of previously healthy and fit persons having a host of issues with clotting and organ problems which could make the patient more vulnerable to future deadly illnesses.
It’s time to return to listening to health care experts and scientists about best practices, instead of letting politics drive decisions, risking kids and their families in the process. Let’s learn from the mistakes of some European countries, instead of repeating them.
Opinion contributor John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. His work appears frequently on the Capital-Star’s Commentary Page. Readers may email him at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter @JohnTures2.