'schools don't drive transmission' is the new 'COVID-19 isn't airborne'

This OpEd cites a 2 page Dec UNICEF, that cites a few reviews that only examine biased symptom-based case studies. No mention of the many less biased studies across hundreds of countries that show otherwise
If you don't think substantial transmission happens in schools and then back into the community, why do you then support mitigations in schools? Isn't that in itself a contradictory stance? I agree with keeping schools open with safety measures. But denying evidence doesn't help.
These are the same narratives that many countries use to suggest that mitigations aren't needed because there isn't much of a risk. Ultimately, it's this denial that leads to school closures. The paradox of stating you want schools to be open while denying the reason they close.
So in many ways your narratives lead to the damaging impacts you say you want to protect children from. If you want to protect children, acknowledge evidence, and build evidence-based policy.

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More from @dgurdasani1

11 Jun
Wow. No.10 blocked data on variants in schools before dropping masks. Later PHE asked if they could release data & were told "release some information but keep it vague & release alongside everything else to make the situation look not as bad as it is.”🧵

This makes perfect sense now to anyone following this. We've been asking for these data repeatedly. Unions, scientists, MPs- but it isn't being released. Last week PHE released a tech report which reported 'outbreaks', and 'common exposures', claiming these data had been released
This *was not* the data that were requested. Clusters can mean 2 cases or 100 cases- while we've clearly had hundreds of clusters, we have no idea how much spread this translates to in schools - which is important for policy. Similarly there was data on common exposures released.
Read 7 tweets
11 Jun
PHE report on variants just out. Highlights:
->90% of cases across England now delta
-delta ~66% more transmissible
-Most cases are in school age children
-30% deaths were among fully vaccinated and 17% in partly vaccinated
-cases of delta sublineage with K417N mutation
PHE still hasn't released data on delta cases in cases linked to schools over time- but we finally get an age distribution (after over a month of long technical reports!!)-

Guess which age group infections are the highest in?

Still, no masks in schools, no focus on ventilation Image
It's now widely prevalent everywhere in England with >90% frequency in almost all regions - whether we look at sequencing or spike drop out data. ImageImageImage
Read 19 tweets
10 Jun
Report from @PHE_uk shows *huge* rise in positivity among primary & secondary school in the week ending 6th June. Positivity appears to have doubled in some age groups in a single week. Notably, this is prior to when children were asked to undertake LFDs before return to school.
Govt still doesn't seem to have plans to put in even the most basic mitigations in schools- despite the rapid spread among school age children, with all of it's consequences, including long COVID. Last week we know 1 in 3 children were absent in Bolton for COVID related reasons.
What will it take for government to do this? It's not complicated- countries all over the world have put stronger mitigations in place in schools. What possible reason could justify not bringing our policy in line with basic recommendations from the CDC on this?
Read 4 tweets
10 Jun
Is Hancock actually suggesting in his testimony that he was advised that it was *safer* for people to be discharged to care homes without testing? That clinical advisors felt it was safer for people to isolate in care homes (where isolation just isn't possible) than in hospital?
"I've got out of bed every morning with the view & the attitude that my is to I could do everything I could to protect lives"... "I've tried to do this with honesty, integrity"...
Absolutely astonishing.
Hunt asking Hancock why we stopped community testing on 12th March. Hancock says that this was down to PHE for lack of capacity for testing. Interesting, given this was presented very clearly by Jenny Harries as an evidence-based policy, rather than due to capacity limitations.
Read 23 tweets
9 Jun
Completely shocking & negligent if true.
From @NafeezAhmed at @BylineTimes
“PHE’s original advice was that people shouldn’t be released from homes and hospitals without being tested”
"Health Minister Helen Whately – leaned on PHE” to alter the advice"
This is precisely why we need public health organisations to be able to stand independently from govt. Govt shouldn't lean on public health bodies on decisions that involve public health- doing this can cost lives. In this case it looks like PHE may have been overruled.
We already know govt leaned on PHE to block release data on delta variant in schools. It's unacceptable for govt to interfere with PHE advice and puts lives at risk. If govt did indeed alter PHE guidance on care homes, they must be held to account.

Read 5 tweets
9 Jun
This is completely unethical. How on earth are we 'trialling' LFDs with poor sensitivity as replacement for isolation (when even the MHRA has come out against this) - in the midst of spread of a highly transmissible & more severe variant? 🧵
While Singapore and US move to protect children recognising that these variants spread rapidly among these groups, and may affect them more, our government is deliberately exposing them, staff members and families to risk - why on earth?
We need to know how these trials were ethically approved - given the MHRA made a clear statement that use of LFDs in this way was 'stretching' what these tests had been authorised for. Govts own modelling shows that with equal adherence, LFDs always result in more cases
Read 5 tweets

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