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More Evidence Opening Schools is not a Risk to Teachers or Students

This article refutes the claim made by leaders of he WEA that older teachers will face an increased risk of death from the corona virus if schools are reopened. The actual risk of death is about the same as the risk of death from the seasonal flu and is much less than the risk of death from heart attacks or cancer.

About a week ago, I posted an article called “10 Reasons it is Safe to Reopen Public Schools.” This article summarized nearly 100 studies from around the world confirming that children do not transmit the corona virus to adults and that, in countries such as Sweden that did not close their schools, there was no increase in mortality among teachers or students. Here is a link to this article for those who would like to read this research: https://commonsensebook.org/latest-news/10-reasons-it-is-safe-to-reopen-public-schools

In fact, because schools are well ventilated while homes are poorly ventilated, 88% of all corona virus transmissions occur in private homes – not in public businesses or public schools. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/06/ny-gov-cuomo-says-its-shocking-most-new-coronavirus-hospitalizations-are-people-staying-home.html

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Thus, the most dangerous place for either students or teachers to be is inside of their poorly ventilated homes – where 88% of corona infections occur. The safest place for them to be is in well ventilated schools – where almost no corona infections occur!

Despite this overwhelming mountain of research on the safety of opening schools, the leaders of the Washington Education Association (aka the teachers union) posted a press release falsely claiming that it was too dangerous to open schools in our state this fall and that doing so would risk the lives of students, teachers and members of the community. Their press release stated that there were 120,000 public educators in school buildings every day and that about 20% of these educators are over 60 years old.

The leaders of the WEA therefore have insisted that all of our schools remain closed indefinitely and that real, in person classes be replaced with one-size-fits-no-one, boring, rigid, robotic online modules that are so bad that over half of our kids can not learn from them. In short, the WEA is placing the future of one million students at risk due to a claim that the corona virus is too dangerous to open schools.

 

On May 8. 2020, I published a 400 page book on the corona virus which included more than 200 studies – all of which confirmed that the corona virus was no more dangerous than the seasonal flu. You can read this book for free at the following link:

https://commonsensebook.org/

Since May 8, 2020, there have been an additional 100 studies which also concluded that the corona virus is no more dangerous than the seasonal flu. I want to be clear that I am not saying there is no risk to the corona virus. The seasonal flu kills an average of 60,000 to 70,000 mostly elderly people in the US every year. In my book, I concluded that, due to a change rule change by the CDC on March 4, 2020, tens of thousands of people who actually died from Flu Type A in March and April, had their death certificates changed from Flu Type A to the corona virus. This is all explained in detail in the first chapter of my book. Here is a direct link to the first chapter:

https://commonsensebook.org/i-corona-virus-risks/1-corona-virus-fatalities/1-1-the-cdc-is-not-your-friend

Because of this obvious CDC data manipulation, about half of the claimed corona fatalities were actually Flu Type A fatalities. Here is a quote from the book: The number of people dying from the corona virus in the US has been vastly inflated such that about half of all corona virus fatalities (and likely more) died from some other disease and were merely reported as having died from the corona virus due to the change in reporting rules that was issued on March 4 2020.”

Currently, the number of claimed fatalities due to the corona virus in the US is about 158,000. Assuming that about half of these are simply due to the CDC changing the rules on March 4, 2020, the actual number of fatalities due to the corona virus is about 79,000 – which is only slightly more than the seasonal flu. My point is that is we have never closed all of our public schools because of the flu – not even in 1917 when the Spanish flu killed 30 times more people.

Because hundreds of thousands of students will be severely harmed by the leaders of the teachers union deciding to shut down all of the schools in our state, we will provide even more evidence that it there is no significant risk to either students or teachers in reopening schools. My hope is that some parents and teachers will read this article and my previous article on this subject - and demand that the leaders of the teachers union re-evaluate their position and allow our schools to be reopened in the fall.

A Closer Look at the Mortality Rate Before the Corona Virus
The teachers union has claimed that some of the 20,000 teachers over the age of 60 will die if we reopen schools. There are two problems with this claim. First, as I explained in my previous article, we know that 88% of all corona virus transmissions occur inside homes – not inside of schools. Therefore, forcing students and teachers to remain in poorly ventilated homes rather than in well-ventilated schools will actually INCREASE the number of teachers who die from the corona virus. Thus, the leaders of the teachers union are advocating for a plan that will increase fatalities! But there is another problem with the claim that some of the 20,000 teachers over age 60 will die if we reopen schools. That problem is that with any group of 20,000 people over age 60, even if there was no corona virus, some of those 20,000 people would die during the course of a 9 month school year.

The percent of people over age 60 who die on average is what is missing in the fear mongering hysteria over the corona virus. What really matters is not how many people die from the corona virus, but how many ADDITIONAL people would die compared to how many people would have died if the corona virus did not exist. On June 23, 2020, the American Council on Science published a study which partially addressed this question. Here is a link to their study: https://www.acsh.org/news/2020/06/23/coronavirus-covid-deaths-us-age-race-14863

Here is a quote from the conclusion of this study: “While the corona virus is obviously concerning and a very real threat to some people (namely, the elderly and immunocompromised), these data also show that the risk for the rest of the population is quite low.”

The study broke down CDC reported corona virus fatalities by age bracket from February 1, 2020 to June 17, 2020 - and compared those to the total number of fatalities in the US during the same period. The study found reported that total corona virus deaths as of June 17, 2020 were 103,339 and that total deaths from all causes were 1,160,656.

Comparing Total US Fatalities to Expected US Fatalities
What the authors of the study failed to do was determine the expected number of deaths in the absence of the corona virus. The total number of deaths in the US has been rising by about 1.2% per year for the past several years – due to the increasing age of our population. Here is a table of total fatalities for the past 6 years with estimates for 2019 and 2020 based on the average of increases during previous years:

Year

US Total deaths in Millions

Annual Increase

in Thousands

2014

2.630

2015

2.710

80

2016

2.740

30

2017

2.810

70

2018

2.840

30

2019 (est)

2.880

40

2020 (est)

2.920

40

 

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/195920/number-of-deaths-in-the-united-states-since-1990/

The study covered a period of 137 days which was 37.5% of the year 2020. Therefore, the expected total fatalities for this period is

0.375 times 2.92 million = 1,095,000. The excess mortality is the actual mortality minus the expected mortality:

1,160,656 minus 1,095,000 equals 65,656. Once again, this is about the same as the excess mortality rate from the seasonal flu. The ratio of over-reporting of corona virus fatalities is the claimed fatalities divided by the actual excess fatalities:

103,339 divided by 65,656 equals 57%. The following table includes both the numbers from the study and adjustments to compensate for the over reporting due to the March 4, 2020 CDC rule change. I have also consolidated some of the age brackets so we can more easily compare the risk of various age groups in terms of reopening schools.

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(1) Claimed fatalities times 0.635

Analysis
The leaders of the teachers union have claimed that the lives of students, teachers and the community will be placed at risk if the schools are reopened this fall. ‘The above table confirms that this is simply not true. Take a close look at the percent of total deaths (column 3) and compare it to the very last column.

Age 1 to 24: You can see that up to age 24, there is almost no risk of death either in general or due to the corona virus. It is therefore completely dishonest to claim that opening schools will result in ADDITIONAL DEATHS of students. A student might die. But a student might also die from a car accident, food poisoning, drowning or suicide during the school year. With one million students, there will be a small number of students who will tragically die from something. But they will die whether we open the schools or not. 46 corona virus fatalities in a nation of 330 million people represents a death rate of less than one in one million – or about one person per state. That is about the same as the odds of a student being hit by lightning while playing on the school playground. No sane person would deprive one million students of an education over such a low risk.

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Age 25 to 34: Many younger teachers are aged 25 to 34. This age group represents 2 percent of all fatalities. Even with the corona virus, this group still represents 2 percent of fatalities. Some people in this group will die in car accidents, suicides and food poisoning even if the schools remain closed. And some of them will even die from the seasonal flu (but we will never know about it because seasonal flu deaths are not considered newsworthy). But these young teachers are unlikely to get the seasonal flu or the corona virus at school since 88% of all virus transmissions occur inside poorly ventilated homes – not in well ventilated schools. Thus, there is no additional risk to this age bracket beyond the risk of the seasonal flu.

Age 35 to 44 (and 45 to 54): These age brackets also have very few fatalities – and the relative risk is not increased by the corona virus. It is 3 to 5% of all fatalities - and with the corona virus added in, it is still 3 to 5% of all fatalities. The risk does not change in opening schools. It is still the same as the seasonal flu.

Age 55 to 64: We will take a closer look at this group since the leaders of the teachers union have (falsely) claimed that the 20,000 educators over the age of 60 are the ones being put at greatest risk if we reopen the schools. You can see that this age bracket represents 13 percent of all fatalities even in the absence of the corona virus. My point is that people in this age group already face a significant risk of death – even if the corona virus never existed. The real question is what is the ADDITIONAL RISK of death from the corona virus? Here is the shocker – the additional relative risk of death from the corona virus for this age bracket is LESS than the relative risk of death without the corona virus! Put in plain English, while this age bracket accounts for 13 percent of all deaths, this age bracket only accounts for 12 percent of corona virus fatalities.

Age 65 to 75: Here is another shocker. This age bracket also does not have an increase in the relative risk. Without the corona virus, their risk is 20 percent of all fatalities and with the corona virus, it is still 20% of all fatalities. While I think teachers age 65 and over should consider retiring, it is mainly because I think they ought to have a few years to enjoy their retirement before they pass away – not because they face some sort of huge danger from the corona virus.

Age 75 and older: This age bracket does face a slight increased risk of death from the corona virus. Without the corona virus, this age bracket accounts for 55% of all deaths – and with the corona virus, this age bracket accounts for 60% of all corona virus deaths. However, the actual increase in risk is not from 55% to 60%. Instead, it is from 55% to 56%. This is because the corona virus only accounts for 6% of the total fatalities even in this age group! The real problem for this age bracket is not the corona virus. It is being 75 years old or older. This age group simply has a very high chance of dying – whether there is a corona virus or not.

Viral Risk in Washington State is Much Less than the Risk in the US as a Whole
We have known for 100 years that the risk of any viral infection is strongly related to the air quality of the state. The primary reason East Coast states have extremely high mortality (not only from the corona virus but also from the seasonal flu) is that East Coast States have poor air quality. The average claimed mortality per million people of East Coast States is over 1000 while the national average is 478 and the average in Washington state is currently 209. Here is a graph comparing the claimed corona fatalities per million:

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The current US claimed mortality is about 158,000 as of August 1, 2020. Multiple this times 0.635 equals 100,000 which is a reasonable estimate of the total national mortality from the corona virus.

To convert national claimed risk to risk in Washington state, we first multiple the national data by 0.023 since Washington state has about 2.3% of the US population.

0.023 times 100,000 is 2300. This is the risk if Washington state had national average air quality. In fact, Washington State has much better than average air quality. Then to adjust for our better air quality, we can use the ratio of claimed fatalities per million. Multiple by 209 (Washington State claimed fatalities per million population) and divide by the US rate of 478. 209/478 equals 0.44 times 2300 yields an estimated rate of 1012. Thus, we can say that about 1000 people have been killed by the corona virus in Washington state during the first 200 days this year. This is about 5 people per day. Compare this to the average daily mortality rate in Washington state of about 160 people per day and this explains why there has been no significant increase in fatalities in Washington state in 2020 compared to the previous 2 years:

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Put in plain English, we now have 6 months of data. That data confirms that the relative risk from the corona virus is about the same as the relative risk from the seasonal flu. This does not mean that no one will die from the corona virus. It just means that about the same number of people will die from the corona virus and the seasonal flu.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, the claimed corona fatalities in Washington state as of August 1, 2020 are 1,594. To adjust for the CDC data manipulation that occurred on March 4, 2020, multiple this number by 0.635. Again, it comes to 1012.

Now let’s look at the Age Bracket fatality data reported by the Washington State Department of Health to see if it is any different from the national age bracket data:

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Sadly, the Washington State Department of Health is not reporting age brackets as precisely as the CDC. But both report 0% fatalities for ages 1 to 19. They also both report 2% for ages 20 to 39. They both report about 9% of all corona virus fatalities are in the age bracket 40 to 60. But what is misleading about the above graph is that 9% of ALL fatalities occur in the 40 to 60 age bracket. There is no relative increase in this risk due to the corona virus. The 60 to 79 age bracket also accounts for about 38% of all fatalities – not just corona fatalities. And about 50% of all fatalities occur in the 80 plus age bracket (which is why the average age of death in our state is about 80). So what the above graph really indicates is not that the corona virus is an extreme risk to older people. It is that all older people are at a greater risk of dying than younger people.

300 Studies Have Now Confirmed the Null Hypothesis: The Corona Virus is not Significantly Different from the Seasonal Flu

You may be wondering why I was able to predict that the corona virus would have a risk about the same as the seasonal flu way back in March and April. The answer is that this is also what the Null Hypothesis predicts. The Null Hypothesis is a bedrock of the Scientific method. It states that all variables are assume to be the same as previous variables until substantial object evidence is presented that there is a difference between two variables. By objective evidence, I am not talking about junk science computer models paid for by Bill Gates. I am talking about actual demographic evidence. The burden of prove is placed on those claiming that the corona virus is different to provide evidence of that difference. No objective evidence was provided back in March and 6 months later, there still has been no objective evidence provided of any significant difference.

What we have gotten in the past six months is 300 or more studies confirming that there is not a significant difference. This mountain of evidence has never been acknowledged by fear mongering politicians or their partners in crime in the corporate media. The evidence I presented above is just one more example of the null hypothesis: There is no increase in the relative risk of the corona virus for one age bracket compared to another. The risk remained about the same regardless of the age bracket.

In summary, the claim that either teachers or students face an increased risk from reopening schools is simply ridiculous fear mongering.

Here are four more ridiculous claims made by the leaders of the teachers union:

Ridiculous Claim #2: The increasing number of cases in our state is a sign of increasing danger

Fact: The increasing number of cases is directly related to the increasing number of tests. The number of tests has increased by more than 300 percent since May and that is why there are more cases. Here is the chart:

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If you tested 1000 people for blue eyes, you would get 10 times more positive cases than if you test 100 people for blue eyes. But that does not mean we should shut down the schools and harm one million kids just because some people have blue eyes. And yes, I know that blue eyes do not kill people. But as I pointed out for Claim #1, there is no evidence that the corona virus has killed any more people than the seasonal flu.

Ridiculous Claim #3: That students would get the corona virus at school and then transmit it to other members of their family.
Fact: In my last article, I presented nearly one hundred studies confirming that children do not transmit the corona virus – either to their teachers or to other family members. Here is the link to this article: https://commonsensebook.org/latest-news/10-reasons-it-is-safe-to-reopen-public-schools

Ridiculous Claim #4: Children will not be harmed by replacing schools with boring, rigid, robotic online only “modules.”
We have known for years that over half of all kids do not learn from online computer programs. This is particularly true for low income and minority students and rural students and special needs students. All of these groups will be severely harmed by the false claims made by the teachers union – claims which have resulted in the closure of virtually all public schools in Washington state.

Ridiculous Claim #5 Closing Schools Somehow Serves the cause of “racial, social and economic justice.”
The press release from the teachers union claimed that low income and minority students are more adversely affected by the corona virus. In fact, almost no students have even been infected by the corona virus – and no student in Washington state has died from the corona virus. But what has severely harmed low income and minority students is the lockdown of all of the schools and businesses. Low income parents lost their jobs in much higher percentages than high income parents. Many had counted on the schools to provide food for their kids. Many low income parents are being forced out of their apartments and will soon be living in their cars once the eviction moratorium is lifted. The one hope – the one thing that could have helped low income parents and their kids would have been to reopen the public schools. It was therefore disgusting and revolting and extremely dishonest for the leaders of the teachers union to claim that they are trying to look out for low income and minority kids. Nothing will harm these kids more than the dishonest press release from the tone – deaf leaders of the teachers union.

Conclusion: The leaders of the teachers union just stuck a knife in the back of more than one million kids

One hundred years from now, parents will still remember the day that the leaders of the teachers union stuck a knife in the backs of our kids. The truth can not remain hidden forever, It will eventually come out that, for anyone under the age of 75, the corona virus is no more dangerous than the seasonal flu. We did not know this when our schools were closed last March. There were no studies back then. But today, there are more than 300 studies – with more studies coming out every day. All of them point towards the same conclusion – that the corona virus is much less dangerous than was originally claimed. I am not talking about the fear mongering fake computer models funded by Bill Gates. I am talking about real studies of communities in the US and around the world. These 300 studies all show, without exception, that there is no increase in risk to teachers or students in reopening our schools. ZERO INCREASED RISK. NONE AT ALL. The claims made by the leaders of the teachers union are utterly false.

Please help get this important information out to parents and teachers by sharing this information with everyone you know. Our kids are counting on us to end the mass hysteria, return to common sense and reopen our schools.

As always, I look forward to your questions and comments.

Regards,

David Spring M. Ed.

spring for schools at gmail dot com