A new study has found minimal evidence that the novel coronavirus is transferring inside K-12 school buildings despite reports of students and faculty across the country contracting the disease.
Brown University researchers collaborated with school administrators and released data Wednesday from a new National COVID-19 School Response Data Dashboard.
COVID-19 cases recorded in the dashboard show a relatively small degree of spread among staff and students. The study looked at data collected from more than 550 schools across 46 states over a two-week period starting Aug. 31, with more than 300 schools maintaining some level of in-person classes.
Researchers found 0.23 percent of students had confirmed or suspected cases of the virus, while the rate among educators was 0.51 percent. The rates for confirmed cases were lower at 0.076 for students and 0.15 for teachers. The data included those for public and private schools, with many of the schools located in smaller communities.
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Fierce arguments have broken out on Twitter after Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon laid out strict rules on household visits, in an effort to curb a rising coronavirus infection rate.
Under the new rules effective from Friday, Scots cannot visit each other’s homes unless they are from extended households. Other exceptions include couples not living together, those in need of childcare and tradespeople. A maximum of six people from two households are allowed to meet in private gardens and public outdoor spaces.
“We are once again at a tipping point. We must act to get Covid back under control,” Sturgeon said in a speech on Tuesday night. She asked citizens to “make sacrifices for our national well-being” in order to curb the spread of the disease. Sturgeon argued that “tough” measures are necessary to keep schools, public services and businesses “open as far as possible.”
The restrictions quickly caused a stir online. The hashtag #ResignSturgeon was used by people blasting the new policy. “I am heartbroken that my family can’t visit me once again. The regulations are contradictory and are punishing the majority for the actions of the minority,” one disgruntled person wrote.
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The COVID-19 pandemic can claim another victim: traditional Halloween trick-or-treating.
According to guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the practice of going door-to-door asking for candy on Oct. 31 is a “higher-risk” activity that should be avoided.
Among the other higher-risk activities are crowded costume parties, indoor haunted houses and going on hayrides.
The CDC does offer some medium- and lower-risk alternatives.
For example, instead of handing out candy hand-to-hand, participate in “one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance.”
The CDC says small group costume parties held outdoors are medium risk, as would be visiting a pumpkin patch or a haunted forest.
However, if screaming will likely occur, “greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus, the CDC warns.
Voice of America
According to a pair of surveys conducted by Axios/Ipsos, the number of Americans willing to try out the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations has dramatically dropped over the past month.
The graph below shows both Democrats and Republicans have become more skeptical of the vaccine.
Only half of those surveyed would pay for the injection out-of-pocket and just 13% would take the shot right away.
33% of people said they’re “not at all likely” to take it, which is up from 26% in August.
Men are more likely to take the first round of vaccines than women while black Americans were half as likely to take it than Hispanic or white Americans.
Likely due to a distrust of the Trump administration, Democrats saw the largest drop in willingness to take the vaccine at a 13% reduction.
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AIER reports that the following letter has made an impact on public health authorities not only in Belgium but around the world.
The text could pertain to any case in which states locked down their citizens rather than allow people freedom and permit medical professionals to bear the primary job of disease mitigation.
So far it has been signed by 435 medical doctors, 1,439 medically trained health professionals, and 9,901 citizens.
* * *
Open letter from medical doctors and health professionals to all belgian authorities and all belgian media.
We, Belgian doctors and health professionals, wish to express our serious concern about the evolution of the situation in the recent months surrounding the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We call on politicians to be independently and critically informed in the decision-making process and in the compulsory implementation of corona-measures. We ask for an open debate, where all experts are represented without any form of censorship. After the initial panic surrounding covid-19, the objective facts now show a completely different picture – there is no medical justification for any emergency policy anymore.
The current crisis management has become totally disproportionate and causes more damage than it does any good.
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As the rest of Europe and the world remains under the grip of draconian rules and the threat of new lockdowns, Sweden, which allowed its citizens to remain free throughout the entire pandemic, has pretty much declared victory over the coronavirus.
The country now has one of the lowest infection rates on the planet, and it’s difficult not to admire how it has handled the past year, with no strict lockdown or compulsory face mask rules. All businesses, schools and public places remained open in Sweden for the duration.
“Sweden has gone from being the country with the most infections in Europe to the safest one,” Sweden’s senior epidemiologist Dr. Anders Tegnell commented to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
“What we see now is that the sustainable policy might be slower in getting results, but it will get results eventually,” Tegnell clarified.
“And then we also hope that the result will be more stable,” he added.
After publishing guidance warning about the serious risks of “airborne” infection associated with SARS-CoV-2, the CDC just seriously harmed its own credibility by acknowledging Monday that it had posted the new guidance “in error”, following a pressure campaign from the WHO.
Scientists have been gathering evidence that the novel coronavirus plaguing the world spreads via aerosol particles practically since it first emerged, and back in July, a group of 200 scientists sent a letter to the WHO urging the international public health agency to change its guidance on the spread of the disease. The problem scientists argued is that the WHO hasn’t updated its views to incorporate new research showing that aerosol spread is a much greater threat than touching contaminated surfaces, or via large droplets spread by close contact between individuals.
Yet, the WHO has refused these overtures, and this week it successfully convinced the CDC to do the same.
A Reuters report that describes as “whistleblowers” students reporting on their classmates for breaking COIVD rules, also highlights that the authorities are paying them to walk around campuses and “enforce” social distancing measures and mask mandates.
“As some U.S. college students party, others blow the whistle,” the report states, noting that some are even making ‘undercover videos’ of their fellow student disobeying the rules and and handing the footage over to school authorities.
“At the University of Missouri, one senior is posting photos and videos on a “University of Misery” Twitter account that shows students gathered in large groups at pools, outside bars and other places – few of them wearing masks,” the report further states.
“The university has a form on its website where violations of the school’s COVID-19 guidelines can be anonymously reported, but posting on Twitter “adds a different level of accountability,”” the
whistleblower snitch commented.
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As the United States nears 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines to add breathing to the most common ways the coronavirus is spread by an infected person.
The U.S. has nearly 6.8 million cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University data late Sunday.
An update Friday to the CDC website says there is growing evidence that small airborne coronavirus particles are produced when someone coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes and can remain in the air to be breathed in by others, allowing an infection.
“These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads,” the CDC website says.
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