Reopen the Schools Now
Just the News recently reported that, “States throughout the U.S. are failing to distinguish between patients hospitalized because of COVID-19 and patients who merely test positive for the disease while being hospitalized for other reasons.” This is an important fact for communities across America as hospitalization rates are widely being used to keep much of the U.S. in shutdown mode, including many U.S. schools.
Some U.S. hospitals are more crowded now than they were months ago, however this is not completely -- or, in many cases, even largely -- due to severe Wuhan virus cases. My community in northeast Georgia provides an excellent example of this. Daily data from Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) on Northeast Georgia Medical Center hospitals shows that, although there’s an increase in Wuhan virus “cases” or “COVID-19 Positives,” the rate of occupied beds has remained relatively constant for months now.
It is important to note that the steep increase in “COVID-19 Positives” does not correspond to a similarly steep increase in “Total Occupied Beds.” Again, this is almost certainly due to the fact that virtually everyone who gets admitted -- for whatever reason -- is tested for the Wuhan virus, and those hospitalized because of the Wuhan virus are not being distinguished from those hospitalized with the Wuhan virus. Of course, we should not be surprised at this, as states and hospitals have long played similar games with Wuhan virus deaths.
Additionally, as has been often reported, the numbers for “Total Occupied Beds” are significantly lower at the beginning of this graphic because hospitals grossly overestimated the health-care demands of the Wuhan virus. Heeding the rampant Wuhan virus fearmongering, hospitals shut down almost all care and procedures. This was done in preparation for what we were repeatedly told was going to be a significant virus patient surge.
Of course, such a patient surge never materialized. Thus, U.S. hospitals were left with a massive patient shortage. This shortage led to unprecedented, self-inflicted financial devastation. Recently, the American Hospital Association (AHA) reported, “Since the start of the pandemic, hospitals and health systems have faced unprecedented financial pressures… And now, some hospitals are increasingly facing the threat of bankruptcy or closure as a result of these pressures.” Thus, much of what we see with current hospitalization rates has less to do with the Wuhan virus and more to do with hospitals trying to improve their financial situation.
Because U.S. hospitals already operate at very thin financial margins -- according to this report, it was 1.7% in 2018 and 1.8% in 2017 -- they typically operate at a very high capacity most of the time. Therefore, any significant uptick in patients will stress most hospitals. In other words, though hospitals may indeed have few available beds, this is by no means unprecedented. This is especially the case during flu season, which, interestingly, we are hearing almost nothing about this year!
As Steven Hayward at Powerline recently noted, for most every year in recent memory, during flu season, the media all over the world has reported on hospital “bed shortages,” “record high occupancy rates,” and as the Los Angeles Times declared during the 2018 flu season,
Hospitals across the state are sending away ambulances, flying in nurses from out of state and not letting children visit their loved ones for fear they’ll spread the flu. Others are canceling surgeries and erecting tents in their parking lots [emphasis mine] so they can triage the hordes of flu patients... Many hospitals also say they’re too full to accept any more patients or ambulances.
During such times, rarely, if ever, were schools, churches, and businesses forced -- or even asked -- to close. Nevertheless, as we stand on the verge of the second semester for most every U.S. school, hospitalization rates across America are being used as justification for keeping schools in shutdown mode. This is true in even some of the most conservative parts of the U.S.
I live in northeast Georgia’s ninth congressional district. This is one of the most conservative districts in America. Yet, several schools across this district are beginning 2021 in the dreaded “virtual learning” mode or some hybrid version of this. In addition to the media reports that imply such, I’ve heard from multiple sources -- within the Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) and the community at large -- that these shutdowns are due to messaging from NGHS administration. I personally know for a fact that such messaging has been used to scare local churches into shutting down.
Along with hospitalizations, school systems also seem to continue to be afraid of Wuhan virus “case counts” or, more accurately “positive tests.” First of all, a “positive test” by no means constitutes a virus case. Additionally, with this virus, cases without context is virtually meaningless. After months of data, when it comes to the Wuhan virus and school-age children, the “context” is clear: school kids are in virtually zero danger. This is true for preschoolers through college-age students. There is nothing in the whole of science that disproves this.
Despite tens of millions of students engaging in in-person learning, there are no incidents of widespread outbreaks of serious Wuhan virus cases among students. Despite months of students engaging in close-contact athletics such as football (and now basketball, including two of my children), there were zero incidents of widespread outbreaks of serious Wuhan virus cases among such athletes.
Despite this evidence, multiple NCAA football games were cancelled this past fall. Time and again we were told this was due to “cases” or those “testing positive” for the Wuhan virus. As we near the end of the NCAA football season, as far as my research has revealed, there has not been one reported incident of a serious Wuhan virus case in all of NCAA football.
If there are such cases, they are very few, and a media eager to support the lockdown narrative is not reporting them. In all of football -- a sport filled with blood, sweat, and constant contact -- there seem to be only a handful of serious cases wheReopen there a young person required hospitalization and was diagnosed with the Wuhan virus.
What’s more, multiple studies, including those very large and very recent indicate that the asymptomatic -- the vast majority of the “cases” among school kids -- are not spreaders of the Wuhan virus. Whether or not they’re symptomatic, we’ve known for months now -- even prior to the beginning of this school year -- that children are not significant spreaders of this virus.
Lastly, the lockdowns -- including school closures -- are having a devastating effect on all of us. Distinguished Canadian pediatrician, Dr. Ari Joffe -- recently named one of the ten most influential researchers in the field of pediatric critical care -- quantifies these effects in a recent article. On schools, he says: “Keep schools open: children have very low morbidity and mortality from COVID-19, and (especially those 10 years old and younger) are less likely to be infected by SARS-CoV-2 and have a low likelihood to be the source of transmission of SARS-CoV-2.”
If your school continues in a lockdown/“remote learning” phase, I encourage you to contact your local school board and administration and educate them on the facts.
Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America