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Covid sweeps through US schools during sixth wave

Elementary school students who have returned to face-to-face classes [Credit: AP Photo/LM Otero]

COVID-19 is once again sweeping schools across the US, fueled by the highly infectious and immune-resistant subvariants Omicron BA.2 and BA.2.12.1. The total number of daily COVID cases in the US has reached over 100,000 per day and the total number of COVID deaths has exceeded one million.

Safety and mitigation measures have been largely abandoned in schools, including testing, other surveillance such as contact tracing, and quarantine and mask requirements, a result of the Biden administration’s deliberate policies. Biden has further reinforced the lie that schools are the safest place for a child, yet students and staff continue to get sick in droves, risking death, long-term physical and mental illness and passing the virus on to loved ones.

Cases in children have increased since students returned from spring break in April, according to the latest report from the American Association of Pediatrics. In the week ended May 12, officially reported child cases rose to 93,511. The report also notes a significant increase in cases across all regions of the US.

On May 18, the child death toll reached 1,547, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), with 29 new deaths reported that month alone. The next day, May 19, the CDC removed 980 previously recorded COVID deaths, including 29 children, reducing the number of child COVID deaths to 1,518. There was no footnote or explanation on the data tracker that accompanied this reduction. Thursday’s revision recalls an episode earlier in the spring when the CDC removed over 72,000 deaths from its data tracker.

At least 12 million children have contracted COVID in the US, undoubtedly a minority due to a lack of systematic testing and contact tracing. As a result, hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of Long-COVID, a disease that presents a range of symptoms that can persist months and even years after initial infection with COVID-19 and can affect almost every organ in the body, including the brain, heart , lungs, kidneys, immune system.

According to a recently published study in eClinicalMedicine, mild COVID-19 cases can lead to persistent cognitive symptoms. A significant minority of severe COVID cases result in chronic decline in cognitive function equivalent to 10 IQ points, or early-stage dementia.

This reality demonstrates the self-interested hypocrisy of the political establishment, which insists on keeping schools fully open to explain children’s “learning loss” and the need for a “return to normal”.

The mass infection policy enforced by the federal government has left teachers, staff and students completely unprotected. Mask requirements have been removed for the vast majority of schools in the US, school buildings have been left with poor ventilation systems and COVID surveillance, including testing and contact tracing, is no longer used systematically.

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