In response to yesterday’s post on schools in NY reopening.


Dr. Baker, I realize the pressure working parents are under but a recent covid death of a 7 year old in Ga. contradicts Trumps comment that kids are immune.

Certainly teachers, administrators and staff are vulnerable. Wouldn’t the prudent move be to halt in person schools until this country gets a handle on this – we are 5% of world population with over 25% of deaths. This is not being contained here and the gibberish out of the White House doesn’t help.

My response

While it is clear that children are not immune to COVID-19 infection, and the death you talk about is tragic, children die every year in school related injuries and illnesses. School bus accidents (without seatbelts!), other infections (RSV and flu) and even playground accidents kill hundreds of children each year.

What we lack is a consensus on the degree of risk parent, educators and public health officials are willing to accept. Some definition of that based on specific criteria needs to be made before anyone can define what type of schooling will happen. NY at least made a stab at that, and the CDC criteria, which seem to have been largely ignored, also have some value.

What I see is that in many places no decisions about schooling are being made. The school year lurches forward in a “do whatever you want” limbo that leaves parents unsure in their own decisions. This will exacerbate the inherent inequities in public education and put economically disadvantaged families most at risk. Also, poorly controlled child care may put more children at risk for COVID-19 than structured school environments.

Also, I am not sure at this point in the pandemic, given Sturgis and other expressions of the “will of the people,” what “getting a handle on this” in the US would mean. I am afraid that the polarized political discourse is less the cause and more a reflection of opinions in our country.

Published by jbakerjrblog

Immunologist, former Army MD, former head of allergy and clinical immunology at University of Michigan, vaccine developer and opinionated guy.

3 thoughts on “In response to yesterday’s post on schools in NY reopening.

  1. I’m on cross country trip. Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas all seemed mask and distancing compliant. Oklahoma not so much. I was surprised that in most places compliance was good but it could be better. You want to get America back and can’t wait for a vaccine.

    It’s so very simple to take action. If the government can’t seem to step up then surely advertisers could “drink milk” “designer masks with celebrities in all fields “Just Do It”

    Take it out of political arena. It should be a point of pride.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree entirely, but was in NJ this week (where masks are legally mandatory) and saw less than 50% compliance on the street. Interesting given the early problems in the area.


  2. See interesting article in WSJ for what appears to be a pretty even-handed analysis. Key point is maintaining masks, social distancing and being sensible makes opening the K-5 group a no-brainer.


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