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 https://covidactnow.org/us/ca/?s=830154.
Currently, it indicates California would be at risk if it opened further.
John H. Terrell