Monday, May 04, 2020

School closings did not help

NY Times science writer Gina Kolata writes:
Did Closing Schools Actually Help?
Researchers have a plan to find out.

As different countries and states tentatively start reopening their economies, there seems to be no clear plan, and no clear way to figure out which of the lockdown measures made a difference in slowing the spread of Covid-19.

Was it necessary to shut down schools? Did it matter if state parks and playgrounds in New Jersey were closed? Did an 8 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew make a difference? When can we go back to normal? ...

Now, two Norwegian medical researchers, experienced in evaluating cancer data, suggest a way to get reliable information. ...

But, Dr. Kalager and Dr. Bretthauer said in a Zoom interview, it is not always in politicians’ interest to get data from randomized controlled studies. Those who called for quickly shutting schools down would face blowback if it turned out that the closings had virtually no effect on the spread of the epidemic.

So far, a study like the one they propose is just a thought experiment. No schools in Norway are planning to randomly test reopenings.
This is an amazing admission from the NY Times.

There was no scientific basis for closing the schools. We could easily find out if there were any benefit to the closings, but no one wants to know. There are only two researchers who are even talking about doing an experiment to find out, but they are in Norway and the experiment is unlikely to be done.

This is nuts. Closing the schools was a $100 billion decision. Shouldn't there be some analysis of the necessity?

No school age kids are dying of the disease. None are spreading it to adults. I have no idea why kids would be immune, but this has been known for months.

I keep hearing people say, "we need to listen to the experts, and follow the data." No, the experts are not following the data. This is all political.

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