Coronavirus

4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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CDC officials say schools can re-open during pandemic but precautions are crucial

Empty school class
Posted at 4:51 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 16:51:58-05

(WSYM) — Parents who kept their children out of school because of COVID-19 might be relieved to hear that low-risk in-person learning is possible. That’s according to health officials with the CDC who now support re-opening of schools. Joining us now to tell us more is our Chief Health Editor Dr. Partha Nandi. Dr. Nandi…how much lower is the transmission risk with in-person learning?

This is helpful news for parents who might be on the fence about whether or not to send their child back to the classroom. Now, new research from the CDC found that transmission rates in schools were about 37% lower than transmission rates in surrounding communities. And one study, in particular, followed 17 middle and high schools in rural Wisconsin during the fall of 2020. And out of over 5,500 students, teachers and administrators, there were only 191 new coronavirus cases in a roughly three-month period. And amazingly, less than 4% of these cases were linked to in-school transmission.

The CDC says they are in favor of opening schools as soon as possible. But that precautions are key to keeping transmission rates low. Can you tell us what they are?

Precautions are definitely critical to success. So here is what the CDC is recommending:

- that anyone who attends or works inside schools wear masks

- to have physical distancing rules in place

- avoid crowding classrooms with too many kids

- and make sure there is proper ventilation indoors

- The CDC also suggested using a hybrid approach - combining online learning with in-person learning - if class sizes are too large.

We’ve been hearing that asymptomatic spread might be responsible for more than half of all cases.

A recently published study found that 59% of cases are spread by people who have no symptoms. Breaking that number down, 24% came from people who at no point had any symptoms at all, while 35% came from people who eventually developed symptoms, but spread the virus before they appeared. These are high numbers which is why following pandemic precautions are so important. As is getting the vaccine when you can. I know that there is lots of misinformation about COVID vaccines being spread especially on social media. One in particular concerns ADE - Antibody-Dependent Enhancement. That’s when your immune system doesn’t completely kill off the virus. And the virus tricks your system, like in the ancient trojan horse story. It sneaks into your cells and replicates. And it actually makes you sicker.

There is simply no evidence of ADE happening with the COVID vaccines. Millions of folks have got the vaccine including myself. And I would not have been vaccinated if I thought there was any chance that ADE would happen. So please, don’t fall prey to those who are spreading false rumors and false claims.