I'd like to offer a thread on what Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the CDC, had to say yesterday about school closures and what his remarks tell us more broadly about the lockdown Doug Ford and his cabinet are currently proposing for Ontario.
“Clearly, the data strongly supports that K - 12 schools, as well as institutes of higher learning, really are not where we're having our challenges, and it would be counterproductive … from a public health point of view” to close them, Redfield said. washingtonexaminer.com/news/school-is…
Redfield is against school closures across America because the virus is not spreading in schools. That fact holds true for Canada as well, and it's what Dr. David Williams in Ontario has been saying as well and why Ontario is not closing schools.
When there have been cases in Ontario schools, the most frequent scenario is that a person in a class gets it. The class is sent home for two weeks, everyone gets tested, no one else has it and everyone returns fine two weeks later.
As Redfield said: “The infections that we've identified in schools when they've been evaluated were not acquired in schools, they were actually acquired in the community and in the household." (Kids get it from parents.) wgal.com/article/cdc-sc…
Redfield added: “It's small family gatherings where people become more comfortable they remove their face mask." For anyone who has been listening closely in Ontario, this is what Dr. Williams has been echoing for a long time.
Basically, prolonged indoor close contact is the driver of the virus. Williams (and others) have been consistent on this. So what about the cases that have spread out of the house, like in restaurants?
Williams (and others) have actually explained that COVID restaurant counts include people at the same table and employees sitting in close contact in the backroom sharing a staff meal, not following basic protocols of distancing.
These interactions are not unique to the restaurant experience but incidental to that experience and are things that happen in all settings and can easily be mitigated. But we don't communicate that.
Instead we encourage people to fear the unknown / unfamiliar. But that's wrong. It should be caution around the familiar. Waiters have to be more cautious around their co-workers than in their fleeting encounters busing tables.
I was in a Loblaws the other day and saw about 8 employees off in a side room close together without their masks having lunch. If they had become ill that would have counted as a grocery store case, even though it has nothing to do with anything unique to the grocery experience.
Now Doug Ford and cabinet are considering further restrictions on things like shopping malls and gyms, even though - to back to Redfields comments - these brief encounters with strangers come with such a negligible risk.
The headlines and political statements focus on the public activities that we can see, the "other" that we can blame, but - in fairness to Tam, Williams, etc. - that's never really been what the experts wanted us to focus on. But politicians and media have taken us there.

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