Open the Schools and the Playgrounds

A group of researchers, spearheaded by Brown University Professor Emily Oster, have created and made available the most comprehensive databaseon schools and Covid case rates for students and staff since the pandemic started. Her data—covering almost 200,000 kids across 47 states from the last two weeks of September—showed a Covid-19 case rate of 0.13% among students and 0.24% among staff. That’s a shockingly and wonderfully low number. By comparison, the current overall U.S. case rate is 2.6%, an order of magnitude higher.

Other research has shown that hospitalization and fatality rates for school-age children are also extremely low. People 19 and younger account for only 1.2% of Covid-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. during the peak of the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that of all Covid-19 deaths up to Oct. 10, only 74 were of children under age 15. During the 2019-20 flu season, the CDC estimates, 434 children under 18 died of the flu. Yet we don’t shut down schools over the flu.

This is from David R. Henderson and Ryan Sullivan, “End the School Shutdown,” Wall Street Journal, October 20 (print edition: October 21).

30 days from now, which is November 20 (the day before my 70th birthday),  I’ll post the whole thing.

A friend on Facebook asked me about the issue of compulsory schooling. He knows I oppose compulsion. I don’t know my co-author’s view on that and I wanted to stick with issues we agree on. So I didn’t raise it. But my view is that any parents who want to keep their children out of school should be able to do so. I predict that this will be under 10 percent of parents.