Matt Malkus Profile picture
25 Nov, 10 tweets, 4 min read
There are so many problems with this that I don't know where to begin.
1. No evidence is presented that infections are reduced by keeping schools closed. That's because there is no such evidence.
2. The number of children infected by COVID-19 is as irrelevant as the number infected by the flu - a number that we've never known, despite its higher risk of both death and long-term effects to children.

What matters is: Are kids transmitting to adults, to teachers?
3. The answer to that is universally "no."
Many studies, such as this one, show that children transmit the virus to other children well, but to adults on a much more limited basis.…
4. This is consistent with the Dutch research showing increased transmission among similar-age contacts (read: child-to-child, adult-to-adult) and limited transmission in other age combinations.…
5. "One in 4 teachers are older or have chronic health conditions" means that we have one in 4 teachers who are prime candidates for teaching remotely. Some families don't *want* in-person learning - and that's OK! Match them with a higher risk virtual-learning teacher.
6. The assertion that there is low transmission only "when effective mitigation methods are put in place" is simply false. Either all 191 countries did it safely, or this is simply a red herring (though of course, let's take whatever precautions we can!) Image
7. If "schools must prove they're safe before they can open," we must define "safe." Ironically, the way the author defines it - by hyperbolically proclaiming that "loss of learning isn't the same as loss of life" - they are ALREADY safe... Image
8. More persons under age 45 will die in auto accidents in 2020 than from COVID.

Not "from COVID in schools" - from COVID, anywhere.

Of course, there are other outcomes aside from death - but this is equally true of car accidents.

Again, older teachers should be accomodated. ImageImage
9. But most importantly, this article covers NONE of the costs associated with keeping schools closed, which my readers know, are vast and continue to surface by the day.

@DrLeanaWen - Your article does nothing to keep anyone safe, but does much to harm at-risk kids. Good work.
10. I want to add one thing:

When @DrLeanaWen says "we cannot put the burden of society’s failures on the people who work in schools," she fails to articulate the alternative, which is: "Put the burden on kids and parents instead."

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More from @malkusm

17 Nov
THREAD: At the risk of beating a dead horse, I thought I'd compile all of the recent data and evidence associated with schools:
- Are they safe?
- How are other countries handling them?
- What are the costs of school closures?

OK, let's go!
1/ In an email to families, Nashville school director Dr. Adrienne Battle warned that schools may return to virtual learning for elementary students.
But she notes that "Nearly all the [MNPS] cases have been contracted outside of the classroom or school."…
2/ This echoes the findings of researchers & health authorities in the US & internationally.
Even Dr. Fauci has acknowledged that as of mid-Oct, despite 30 mil kids in US schools, "there has not been an indication" that this was driving community spread.
Read 20 tweets
15 Oct
1/ I earnestly looked into this, because I wanted to know how they arrived at these results.

"[B]ased on predictive models, COVID-19 impacts could be lessened by up to 47% if a majority of people wear masks."

Oh, boy, predictive models? I thought we'd learned our lesson here.
2/ "Predictive model" here is a fancy way of saying "our results are based on parameterized inputs, not empirically observed data."

Still, let's give them the benefit of the doubt, shall we? Here's the paper. Let's dive in!…
3/ As expected, the model is based on parameters derived from other literature.
On masks:
"We chose a conservative non-medical mask efficacy, eM = 20%, within the estimated range for reducing disease transmission during interactions between susceptible and infected individuals."
Read 17 tweets
14 Oct
Thanks, Meghan, for covering tonight's board meeting. I appreciated the opportunity to meet with concerned parents and teachers beforehand, and to lay out some of the facts surrounding the costs of school closures for the board.

References to statements I made follow (THREAD).
Count/list of Texas school districts who have announced an end to in-person learning, and selected statements from school districts which did so. Thanks @therealarod1984 for compiling and staying on top of this.
I made two references to independent studies of absenteeism in schools and the widening gap between students in affluent districts versus those in poor/impoverished districts. Here is the first, from the Dallas Morning News, covering 80 districts.…
Read 8 tweets
9 Sep
Hey, what ever happened to the "COVID kids develop Kawasaki disease" storyline that was used to terrify parents back in April or May?

Well, the CDC didn't forget - they published a report on August 4 on the... wait for it... *565* total cases in the US.…
Through September 3, there have been about 515K cases of COVID-19 in children.

There are roughly 55 million school-aged children in the US.…
So, to recap:

- Less than 1% of all school-aged children in the US have tested positive for COVID;

- Of those, about 0.1% developed Kawasaki-like disease (MIS-C);

- Of THOSE, only 1.8% (10 total persons) died.

So, I wonder why you never heard these numbers?
Read 5 tweets
22 Aug
Something that people have a hard time grasping:

Taking COVID-19 seriously and demanding transparent, accountable, science-based government are not mutually exclusive.

I'd demand answers to questions about our policy response even if the death toll were 100x what it is today.
Good public policy should:
- Properly assess the risk and the benefit of action
- Properly assess the cost of each action & weigh it against the benefit
- Be clearly communicated to the public, including specific goals
- Be non-arbitrary (i.e. grounded in logic, facts, relevant data)
- Account for ALL stakeholders, i.e. all members of society (rich, poor, young, old, etc)
- Be re-evaluated regularly as part of a discussion involving the public (not by decree)
Read 4 tweets
5 Aug
Meet Steven Manzo, a tragic casualty of lockdown. A recovering addict who overcame so much, and had so much life ahead of him.


Next time you advocate for the closure of a business, school, or other aspect of society, remember Manzo.

Then multiply his case by...
5,000: Roughly the increase in national overdose fatalities from March to May, based on these % increases above the CDC's 2018 baseline.…
10,000: The estimated increase in breast & colorectal cancer deaths over the next 10 years due to missed cancer screenings. "This analysis is conservative," says the author, director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute.…
Read 14 tweets

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