The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Back-to-School -- III

The New York Times is the newspaper of record for Team Apocalypse. The COVID-19 related dishonesty and distortions that have been published in the NYT since March, 2020 are far too numerous to count, but they've succeeded in creating hysteria among the paper's progressive readership.

In a recent op-ed entitled, "How to Re-Open Schools without Killing Teacher and Parents," the author writes:
More than 140,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, and there are growing outbreaks in many states. No other developed nation has sent children back to school with the virus at these levels. Data about transmission in classrooms is limited. Many teachers have health risks and are understandably afraid to return. The safest course would be for kindergartners through 12th graders to continue with online courses in the fall.
Obviously, the author is entitled to her opinion, but her argument is so thin and outrageous, it deserves a rebuttal and fisking. let's take her paragraph one sentence at a time:

More than 140,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, and there are growing outbreaks in many states. 

Of these deaths, the CDC reports that a grand total of 22 children of primary and middle school level have died. There are about 60 million school age children in the U.S., so the probability of a child succumbing to the virus is 0.0000037 percent. 

No other developed nation has sent children back to school with the virus at these levels. 

No other country is testing to the extent that we have, and therefore, no other country has analogous data on "cases"—the latest scare tactic employed by Team Apocalypse. The following industrialized countries, all of whom are still experiencing "cases," have put their children back in school:  China, South Korea, Germany, Denmark, France, Sweden, Israel, South Africa and dozens of others. Many strategies are in place to have kids in school full time.

Data about transmission in classrooms is limited.

That's because our political leadership panicked and closed schools almost immediately. The data that are available indicate that transmission from children aged 4 to 10 to adults is much less likely than adult to adult transmission.

Many teachers have health risks and are understandably afraid to return. 

In general, teacher ages range from 22 to 64 years old. In the entire United States, 23,600 people in that age group have died of COVID, the vast majority with significant health risks and above the age of 55. There are about 3.3 million teachers in a population of 330 million or about 1 percent of the population. To be very conservative, let's assume teachers have a 5x higher risk of contracting the virus than the average person (no data are available to support this and there are studies that indicate that children are less likely than others to transmit the virus, even if they have it ). That means in an absolute worst case scenario, we could expect 1,180 teachers to die of the virus from all causes including being in the classroom (or going out to eat or coming into contact with someone at the grocery store). The probability of a teacher dying from COVID from any cause is 0.0357 percent, less than 4 one-hundredths of one percent.

The safest course would be for kindergartners through 12th graders to continue with online courses in the fall.

Actually, no it isn't. Steve Welch notes:
As of June 17, 26 American children under the age of 15 have died from COVID. That is not a misprint: 26 children under the age of 15. By comparison, in the first six months of this year, an estimated 122 children under the age of 15 died from the flu, 536 children died in car accidents, and another 349 died in pool drownings. I don’t hear anyone saying we should stop putting kids in cars or letting them swim in pools.
In fact, you could argue that even with the virus, kids just might be safer in school that they are at home.

And none of this considers the loss of learning, the ineffectiveness of on-line learning in the 4 to 14-year old cohort, and the profound psycho-social ramifications for children. So by all means, let's keep schools closed so we don't "kill" teachers and grandma. The kids? They become pawns for Team Apocalypse and its politically motivated narrative.

This tweet by Joe Biden (yeah, I know, it was probably written for him) provides clear proof that he's become a card carrying member of Team Apocalypse:

Following this logic in states where "cases" are going up (but deaths are going down and hospitalizations are becoming shorter and shorter), we should definitely close all grocery stores, force first responders to stay in their headquarters, and severely limit other medical care. After all, like education, these services are critical, but providing them where "...infection rates are going up or remaining too high is just plain dangerous.”

I know that Biden isn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier and given his cognitive disability, I suspect he's unable to absorb the hard numbers or percentages I present in the body of this post. But still ...

In reality the only "danger" associated with reopening schools is the danger posed to Team Apocalypse's narrative and far more important, the threat to their political strategy that so far, just might be working.

UPDATE- 2 (7/22/2020):
The Times of London reports on a recent study:
There has been no recorded case of a teacher catching the coronavirus from a pupil anywhere in the world, [emphasis mine] according to one of the government’s leading scientific advisers.

Mark Woolhouse, a leading epidemiologist and member of the government’s Sage committee, told The Times that it may have been a mistake to close schools in March given the limited role children play in spreading the virus.
I'm waiting to see how team Apocalypse spins that. Maybe we should ask Joe Biden (see Update-1) what he thinks of the report. Oh, wait, Joe Biden doesn't take any questions, and I can guarantee he hasn't read the report. In fact, I wonder if he knows what The Times of London is.

Consider this melodramatic comment by a member of some teachers union as related by James Freeman:
This also creates a rather awkward moment for U.S. teachers unions and their media friends. Recently in the New York newspaper called the Times (no relation), a teacher named Rebecca Martinson opined:

Every day when I walk into work as a public-school teacher, I am prepared to take a bullet to save a child. In the age of school shootings, that’s what the job requires. But asking me to return to the classroom amid a pandemic and expose myself and my family to Covid-19 is like asking me to take that bullet home to my own family. 
Perhaps a bit overstated? Charlotte Hays of the Independent Women’s Forum calls Ms. Martinson’s op-ed “An Emotional Plea To Play Hooky” and observes:
Nobody can or should be forced to continue in a job that she deems too dangerous.
But what struck me about Ms. Martinson’s piece is that she never lets on about her risk. She doesn’t tell us if she lives with elderly, vulnerable family members. She doesn’t tell us whether she has underlying conditions that would make her susceptible to COVID-19.
The most prominent fact cited is that 75 “school-based” employees of the New York City Department of Education lost their lives to COVID-19 between March 16, 2020 and June 22. While each of these losses is undeniably tragic, to make these numbers meaningful, we need to know which ones contracted the infection because of their jobs. New York City’s public schools began shutting down in mid-March.
The Times report from the U.K. suggests that the number is zero. 
That 's about the same as the credibility of Team Apocalypse at the moment.