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Closing schools hindered herd immunity, could lead to more COVID deaths overall: new study

Lockdown measures, such as closing schools, likely prolonged the epidemic by preventing the virus from naturally moving through low-risk populations and building herd immunity.
Thu Oct 15, 2020 - 11:33 am EST
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October 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A recent study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that the closing of schools in response to the novel coronavirus could actually increase overall deaths resulting from the disease.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh reevaluated a model produced by the Imperial College London earlier this year that prompted the extensive government lockdown measures, including the closing of schools, implemented in the U.K., as reported by The Sun.

Considering the question of how such school closings would impact the spread of the virus, the study found that “school closures and isolation of younger people would increase the total number of deaths, albeit postponed to a second and subsequent waves.”

Though the lockdowns were “highly effective at reducing peak demand for intensive care unit (ICU) beds,” the researchers explain, these measures “also prolong the epidemic” by preventing the virus from naturally moving through low-risk populations and building herd immunity which then serves to protect the vulnerable, including the “older age groups.”

To this end, the study also shows that limiting social distancing to those over 70 would be more effective at reducing the number of deaths than the general social distancing of the entire population.

The researchers thus conclude that “the somewhat counterintuitive results that school closures lead to more deaths are a consequence of the addition of some interventions that suppress the first wave and failure to prioritise protection of the most vulnerable people.”

This University of Edinburgh study is published on the heels of the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) which was authored by three highly qualified epidemiologists from the universities of  Harvard, Oxford and Stanford, and at the time of this writing co-signed by over 9,600 medical and public health scientists, 25,500 medical practitioners and 455,000 concerned citizens.

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The Declaration  expresses “grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies” and recommends an approach they refer to as “Focused Protection.”

As supported by the results of the Edinburgh study, the Declaration’s “Focused Protection” calls for allowing “those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.”

While emphasizing vigilance in protecting the vulnerable, the GBD classifies school closings as “a grave injustice” and asserts that “those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal,” while incorporating “simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick.”

“Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.”

Defending their position on a recent episode of the Ingraham Angle, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford was asked how to respond to those who are “scoffing at the idea of herd immunity” and reaching a level of immunity that allows communities to open-up and return to normal.

Bhattacharya replied “Denying herd immunity is like denying gravity.  Gravity exists and herd immunity exists … The question isn't about herd immunity really, the question is how do you safely get there.  The focused (protection) strategy that we are proposing where you protect the vulnerable and let people live their lives will get us there more quickly with less loss of life and less damage to other aspects of public health that get ignored.”


  british medical journal, coronavirus, herd immunity, lockdown, lockdowns, schools

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