Dr Jenny Harries, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of England, told Sky News this morning that children are more likely to die of flu or be killed in a road traffic accident than succumb to COVID-19.
“The long term harms of children not attending school significantly, we think, outweigh those potential risks,” she said.
“No environment is completely risk-free.
“Every time a parent sends their child off to school pre-Covid they may have been involved in a road traffic accident, there are all sorts of things.
“In fact that risk, or the risk from seasonal flu, we think is probably higher than the current risk of Covid.”
This message was complemented by the Times’s front page story this morning, which says, “Teachers spread virus more than pupils.”
New research from Public Health England revealed that two thirds of outbreaks arose from staff-to-staff transmission, or staff-to-pupil.
In June the number of schools open was between 20,500 and 23,400, with pupil numbers increasing from 475,000 to 1,646,000. In June and last month 200 children and staff were affected by the illness. Over the same period 25,470 cases were recorded across England as a whole.
Thirty outbreaks, defined as two or more linked cases in one school, were recorded between the start of June and the end of last month. These represented 0.01% of preschools and primary schools in England.
The figures will encourage those who have argued that school is a safe place for children during the pandemic.
Killer line: “These [outbreaks] represented 0.01% of preschools and primary schools in England.“
Stop Press: Boris issued a statement this morning saying children’s “life chances” will suffer if they don’t go back to school and in the Telegraph Iain Duncan-Smith urges the PM to show “some Churchillian spirit” to get kids back to school.