Re: 'Open our schools' [Village News, Letter, 7/30/2020]


Last updated 8/13/2020 at 3:50pm

San Diego County supervisor Jim Desmond made a sales pitch for sending children back to school, based, he said, on science and data. He cited a study conducted in Iceland, where not one child passed the virus to their parents.

It’s what he didn’t say that’s a problem. The data said that relative to COVID-19, the U.S. and Iceland are in no way comparable. Iceland flattened its curve, instituted extensive testing and most importantly conducted rigorous contact tracing.

Countries with a very high positive rate are unlikely to be testing widely enough to find all cases. The World Health Organization has suggested a positive rate of around 3% to 12% as a general benchmark of adequate testing. Four and a half months after recording its first case, the U.S. is finally testing at levels recommended by the WHO, achieving a positive rate of 4.8%. Iceland achieved a positive rate of 0.1%.

A lower positive rate makes contact tracing feasible. But it still requires a coordinated effort. And coordination is completely lacking in our COVID-19 response.

This report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention might be more appropriate for guiding decision-making: “SARS-CoV-2 Transmission and Infection Among Attendees of an Overnight Camp – Georgia, June 2020” from July 31.

Here are some highlights. A total of 597 Georgia residents attended camp A. Median camper age was 12 years old, with a range from 6 to 19 years old. The median age of staff members and trainees was 17 years old with a range of 14 to 59 years. Test results were available for 344 people or 58% of attendees, and among these, 260 people or 76% were positive.

COVID Act Now frequently updates the statistics that indicate individual state’s readiness for opening at

Currently, it indicates California would be at risk if it opened further.

John H. Terrell

Fallbrook resident


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