Are Children “Stoppers” Of COVID? Betsy Devos Thinks So
In an interview to iHeart Radio on “The Conservative Circus”, the Education Secretary of the US claimed that, ““More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don’t get it and transmit it themselves.” She continued that the default should be the school kids getting back the classroom.
This was in part a suggestive statement to affirm the administration’s push to reopen the schools across the country. The US President Donald Trump supported Devos’s argument by stating that children don’t transmit very easily and said, “They don’t catch it easily; they don’t bring it home easily.”
The Department of Education provided further details to support this claim, which included reports from around the world – American Academy of Pediatrics, Report from New South Wales Australia, Report from France, and Report from Saxony Germany
Washington Post reported that the German researchers confirmed to The Fact Checker that these results do not apply to other nations, especially to the USA where infections are alarmingly high. Jakob Armann, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at University Children’s Hospital in Dresden and co-author of the study said, “Our results depict a situation with low infection rates after the initial transmission peak is under control. If you have rising infection rates — as in the United States currently — putting people in close contact will obviously lead to transmission of respiratory viruses as SARS-CoV-2."
Reinhard Berner, who commented that children act as brakes to the spread of coronavirus later said that his comment was widely exaggerated in the media. He further stated, "In high-infection communities, children will get infected and will transmit to close contacts.”
There are several reports by countries that are in contrast to the Secretary’s statement. For instance, an Israel study reported that close to 2000 members were infected among their children and staff members – 1335 of them being kids upon reopening their schools.
Another study reported a high rate of infections among high school children during a heatwave when the air conditioning was turned on and the masks rule was waived off.
A South Korean study found that children between 10 to 19 years of age transmit COVID 19 as much as adults and a New York incident led to an asymptomatic child infecting 16 people – 7 of them being children in a daycare.
Bottom line – While children under 10 years are half as likely to transmit the disease, they are at a risk as high as any other age group. Children between 10 to 19 can transmit the disease as widely as an adult and there are no other exceptions. It all depends on how highly the area is infected.
- Washington Post: DeVos’s claim that children are ‘stoppers’ of covid-19
- Seattle Times: Fact check: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says that children are ‘stoppers’ of COVID-19
- IJR.org:Trump Echoes DeVos’ Claim That Children Are ‘Stoppers’ of COVID-19 — Health Experts Respond
- ABC News:Trump, DeVos downplay risks of reopening schools, claim children don't spur transmission: FACT CHECK