I Was Cancelled For Starting A Petition Urging the Government to Reopen Schools

17 May 2020

By Kathrine Jebsen Moore

Reading through the daily Lockdown Sceptics newsletter the other day, I was dismayed to see that a petition to allow parents not to send their children back to school had received around 65,000 signatures (now over half a million). I wasn’t overly surprised, having noticed the comments on social media and the reports of worried parents and teachers, but I thought: Surely it’s not just I who, having looked at the available evidence, thinks it’s high time our children got back to their regular routine of school and nursery – not via screens, but the real, physical thing? In Scotland, schools probably won’t open until the autumn, and plans to get children back to school next month in England are being contested by the teaching unions, so I started my own petition claiming the opposite: that children need to get back to school.

The arguments in favour of reopening are many, and have been well made by education experts like Joanna Williams and the Children’s Commissioner for England. It’s disappointing to see the teaching unions, supported by the British Medical Association, opposing the plans and in effect telling their pupils that schools and education don’t matter. For if they don’t matter now – after months where many children have been cut off from their network of friends, wider family and teachers – then when? Yet, as this collective psychosis of fear has taken hold (thanks to the relentless messaging from the government and the media), it seems that large parts of the population have become scared to resume anything resembling normal life.

Fear, when expressed in online comments, can look ugly. I was reminded of this when I shared my petition to a Facebook group I thought might take an interest in the topic. The Edinburgh Gossip Girls, or EGG as it’s known, is a group of 16,000 women in the Scottish capital, plenty of whom are mothers. Edinburgh’s schools have a good reputation, even though Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP has failed to maintain the standards that were once a hallmark of Scottish education. Edinburgh’s private schools account for 25% of pupils, compared to just 4% in the rest of the country. I imagined that many mums at these expensive schools – as well as the very good local ones – were eager to send their children back after eight weeks – the equivalent of a summer holiday, but without the change of scenery and the social aspects. I was wrong.

It seems the evidence that children are largely unaffected by the virus had not made an impression on the majority of commenters, who were quick to state their opinions. Within a few minutes my post had 62 angry emojis, six stunned ones, three sad ones, and only 26 likes – and one heart. The comments reinforced the mood. As well as the simple “that’ll be a no” and “wouldn’t dream of signing this”, it quickly progressed to mud-slinging, strawmen and high tempers. Some comments were, worryingly, from teachers, who failed to show the professional pride that has been apparent among NHS workers and others who’ve continued to do their jobs during the pandemic. Although a few were supportive, I’ll include a selection which conveys the general spirit:

“Eh, not a chance. Most kids are fine without school.”

“Education matters but so does not dying.”

“Can everybody please report to admin and get this goady post taken down.”

“How many teachers are a fair price for your? More than 65 school staff under the age of 65 in England and Wales have died of Covid already according to ONS figures from last week. How many? How sick of your own children are you?”

“Without proper testing and aggressive tracking of the population reopening schools would be dangerous. The petition is dangerous and unadvisable…unless you don’t care if more people die and suffer.”

Another accused me of having had “too many daytime G&Ts”.

“Boo hoo, my kids miss their friends…they’ll miss them a lot more if they’re dead.”

That was the last comment before the admin switched off comments, with the words: “I’m not sure you’re going to get much support here, and this is a post that clearly stirs up a lot of angst and emotion which I’m trying to avoid. This is one for your personal FB, thanks.”

So with that, I had no chance to respond or refute what had been levelled at me. What I had hoped would attract a few signatures instead became a pile-on which ended abruptly. What surprised me more, however, were the many encouraging comments that landed in my inbox. One was from a doctor who said she was in full agreement with my petition and my views but couldn’t speak out in public because of her job. Her message was poignant, but unfortunately I can’t share it as I promised not to – even anonymously. A common theme among the messages of support was the disappointment that the subject had turned so political, and that even innocent questions such as “Is H&M still open?” had been met with a deluge of accusations. With tempers so frayed, I was pleased to get so many encouraging messages, but suddenly there was one that was a bit different, from a name I recognised as one of the trolls: “Got a G&T to get back to, have you? You’re an absolute danger.” To which I replied: “You’re obviously bored at home. I don’t think you understand the arguments.” She responded: “I understand fine, thanks. I am not in any way bored. Right-wing cunts like you make me sick. It’s every civilised person’s duty to stand up to right-wing fanatics wherever they are found.” I told her I would report her to the admin, and she blocked me. The admin of EGG has so far not responded to me.

At the time of writing, my petition has attracted just over 700 signatures. Nothing to match the many who seem to want to protect their children from a virus that has so far killed two children in England and Wales since the outbreak began – a risk of one in 5.3 million – but I hope that a sense of perspective will start to emerge among the wider population as the pandemic retreats. For those who worry about children being “superspreaders”, this seems to have been debunked, and scientists have yet to identify any child under the age of ten who has passed the virus on. It has never been completely safe to send your children to school – or indeed venture outside at all – and let’s not forget that most accidents happen at home. Equating “home” with “safe” has proven a very effective campaign slogan, and primed our thoughts and behaviour to the degree that it’s been reported that it’s worked almost too well. This is not a message we want our children to take in. It’s the opposite of the life-embracing, curious and confident outlook that we as adults should seek to nurture in the younger generation. The longer the schools are closed, the more they’ll miss, and it’s going to be the most disadvantaged who will bear the brunt. The reactions I received in response to my calling for children to resume their education, although upsetting to read, are like water off a duck’s back to me; but it worries me that children are surrounded by adults who hold views like these, and who can’t see past their fear, sabotaging their children’s prospects in the process.

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Michael Hurley
Michael Hurley
18 days ago

I agree with you most heartedly.

GLT
GLT
18 days ago

Thank you for being brave enough to put your point forward. Your story is pretty disturbing.

I also worry about what happens when the schools do go back and restrictions are placed on children that are cruel, inhumane and lack any scientific basis. I am hoping that society has seen sense by then.

Mark
Mark
18 days ago

“Right-wing cunts like you make me sick. It’s every civilised person’s duty to stand up to right-wing fanatics wherever they are found.”

Ah, the dulcet tone of the caring, socially concerned leftist.

And the teaching unions – “the Covid equivalent of flat-earthers” as an infuriated doctor posted here the other day, pseudonymously and very aptly – will I’m sure agree fully with your gentle correspondent.

Jules
Jules
17 days ago
Reply to  Mark

By calling someone that disgusting name it just shows that you are extremely ignorant and stupid.

Mark
Mark
17 days ago
Reply to  Jules

Just checking – you do realise that was a quote from the article?

Julie
Julie
17 days ago

I agree with you, I have 2 children and I have no problem sending them back. It’s worrying that people cannot see that the risk to children is minuscule. The govt has done a good job in terrifying everyone.

rationalist
rationalist
17 days ago

100% agree and I’m a teacher. Mortified by the whole professional response. I also have a reception aged child that will be going back at the earliest opportunity. I have no qualms about whether PPE is used or social distancing. I would like her to have as normal an experience as possible.

Annabel Andrew
Annabel Andrew
17 days ago
Reply to  rationalist

Am just wondering who disagreed with this brave teacher -rationalist-who wants her child to go back and wants to teach and doesn’t need social distancing- because we don’t need social distancing- what has made that person give a thumbs down and perhaps they could be brave enough to write their opinions here as the rest of us do.

hanne haagenrud
hanne haagenrud
17 days ago

I agree most wholeheartedly with all of your points and it makes me so sad to see how polarized this debate has become. We need to be sensible and open for advice – all of us.

Kathrine Jebsen Moore
Kathrine Jebsen Moore
11 days ago

Takk Hanne!

JMW
JMW
17 days ago

The conflation of ‘home’ and ‘safe’ has never been a good idea; naive at best and in may cases outright dangerous. Most accidents occur within the home, as well as most incidents of abuse. For the estimated 4 million children living in poverty in the UK, including more than 100,00 living in temporary accommodation, home can hardly be regarded as a place conducive to learning and healthy development.

If you live in a spacious home, with a garden, in a leafy neighbourhood, then maybe another month at home won’t do you too much harm, but this is not the case for most children. Regardless of social circumstances, all children need opportunities for real learning in the real world with their teachers and peers. Life is full of risks and we need to empower our children to recognize and manage life’s uncertainties.

It is understandable that many parents are anxious, bombarded as we are by hysterical media reporting and horrendous images of worst-case scenarios – although that’s no excuse for the impolite and offensive responses to your petition. We need to act like the grown-ups we are, own that anxiety, and put our children’s needs first.

Annabel Andrew
Annabel Andrew
17 days ago
Reply to  JMW

well said! We should all now be concerned for this generation of children.

007point5
007point5
17 days ago

Thank you Katherine. The world has gone completely insane. It cannot last, can it?

Robin G
Robin G
16 days ago
Reply to  007point5

Completely mad, yes. And yes, I am convinced that it will not last. So many of my sheeple friends are suddenly asking the same questions.

Annabel Andrew
Annabel Andrew
17 days ago

Thank you for getting this out there, I signed the petition.
I am in despair at the amount of people who used to have backbones and now have jelly. How on Earth did we get here so quickly? Well done for being so brave- FB is a horrible place- I have just done a similar thing to you as a friend of mine is a teacher and is calling out anyone who dares to suggest that anyone should be back at school- I am now awaiting my virtual lynching.
The problem is, that the more we acquiesce and only agree quietly with like minded people, the worse the situation will get. We actually need The Sun to start pushing the ‘get out now. it’s safe and you won’t all die as you cross your threshold’ line.

Pauline
Pauline
16 days ago
Reply to  Annabel Andrew

Our family have already buried 2 members due to covid, I think thats quite enough without burying any more by sending kids back to school, increasing the R rate throughout the population. I know the chances are they will be fine if they catch it, but my diabetic husband and elderly parents ?? don’t fancy their chances as much

Chris M
Chris M
17 days ago
Mark
Mark
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris M

This seems like an appropriate place to remind ourselves of one doctor’s response to the BMA’s stand on this, posed here a couple of days ago:

“Bloody hell.
I quit the BMA years ago when I realized they were a self-serving bagfull of arseholes with nothing to say except ‘more money for the NHS, more money for NHS staff’ – repeat ad infinitum, whatever the question.

Now it appears that, contrary to ‘the science’ we hear so much about – in this case the review of cases/research by the Royal Collage of Paediatricians, so pretty credible stuff you might think – they’re too busy nosing up the teaching unions’ arse – who are the Covid equivalent of flat-earthers.

I can only assume Dr Nagpaul is being spared the joys a recalcitrant 15 year old and a 2nd year Uni student stuck at home, whose educational backbone is becoming more osteoporotic by the day.

And they’re just resisting the return of the Primary School ‘first wave’. Secondary kids are screwed until what, September???

And while I’m at it, simply piling stuff onto ‘Show My Homework’ or whatever does NOT constitute teaching a subject. You’re at home on FULL PAY, teachers and University lecturers, please make at least half an effort to impart some knowledge to our kids – the f**ed-up Generation – before it’s too late.

Dr Rant has left the building.”

Alex
Alex
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Does your 15 year old engage at school? Genuine question.

And with regards to your last paragraph there, first of all, we are working. There are teachers working in hubs, teachers working all hours – whilst trying to support their own children through this, working during their holidays (and before anything is said about that we don’t get paid for our holidays.) Do you work through your holidays?
Why don’t we furlough teachers. Pay them at 80% like much of the nation and then they can do nothing. Perhaps then you will see how much work teachers are doing. We are following guidance from the government- we cannot teach new material because not all children have access to the internet or the ability to work online. And yes I understand that you are saying that if we get them back into school this would t be an issue but there are so many things that have to be put in place to protect not only the children and their families but the staff too. There are already numerous people who work in education who have died. Can you honestly say that’s what you want? And lastly, and I say this as a teacher – if you think for one second that our children’s health (physical, mental and emotional) isn’t on the top of the majority of teachers priority list you need to think again. We care deeply for our children and the second we are told we can go back we will do so gladly. Do not tar all teachers with the same brush.

Mark
Mark
16 days ago
Reply to  Alex

Not my words, I’m just quoting what a doctor wrote here a couple of days ago -obviously angered by the BMA’s disregarding the medical evidence from the Royal Collage of Paediatricians in favour of evidence-evading trade union solidarity. You’d have to address questions in response to him/her.

But your comments about a supposedly urgent need to protect children at school ” and their families but the staff too” if they return would have some credibility if you could point to any actually significant risk to which they would be exposed. All the actual evidence is that the risk of this disease is minuscule, for all but a vulnerable few.

So isolate the few and let the safe majority get on with learning, interacting normally and working, to generate the money that pays for all the healthcare and the education and all the rest, that you seem to think just appears out of nowhere.

Alex
Alex
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Apologies, I assumed that this section was you speaking of your own children. “I can only assume Dr Nagpaul is being spared the joys a recalcitrant 15 year old and a 2nd year Uni student stuck at home, whose educational backbone is becoming more osteoporotic by the day.” But I certainly would like to speak to the person who wrote that because what they have indicated is that they are more concerned with (albeit a perceived understanding) how irritating their child is from the use of the phrase ‘spared the joys.’

As to your second point, Firstly I did not actually use the word urgent but now that you have – do you not feel it’s urgent to protect children, families and staff? Again I will point out that in England and Wales (where there are larger populations,) a number of staff in Education have died already, they are seeing rising numbers of deaths in males aged 35 – 49 (perhaps your average teacher’s age,) and yes there tragically have been some children who have died too – the facts are there if you search for them. There is also the fact that we don’t yet know what will happen with breakfast clubs, afterschool care – if parents are relying on grandparents to do the childcare after school we still do not have absolute solid proof that children aren’t carriers of Covid-19.

So whilst, yes isolating the few, might work for a while there is no guarantee that this will not create a second wave. And again I understand how the economy works despite your condescension that this is not the case. I very, clearly, understand that money does not “just appear out of nowhere.” Let’s not bring, what is a healthy debate, down to a level of insulting one another!

The point from your first post, which I took most umbrage with, was “You’re at home on FULL PAY, teachers and University lecturers, please make at least half an effort to impart some knowledge to our kids – the f**ed-up Generation – before it’s too late.” Where you have implied that we are not working, because I can assure you we are, including phone calls with parents and children to support their needs, divising lessons which can be done relatively independently so that their parents can carry on working if need be, to help the economy, to answering emails, to providing online learning, to online training to enhance our skills and learning so that when we are back in the classrooms we can do our best to help support the children, and whilst due to underlying health conditions I cannot volunteer in a hub, I can guarantee you that if I was healthy I would be volunteering to be there, from 7 in the morning to 6 at night. Do not for one second think that teachers aren’t working hard. That is my point. It is rude, and an antiquated argument that ‘teachers are lazy’ or ‘those who can do, those who can’t teach’ because I assure you this was my chosen profession. like many others. Like I said, the second we are told to go back – I will be there and I can’t wait but I will not put anyone’s health at risk.

Alex
Alex
16 days ago
Reply to  Alex

I will apologise because I realise that the first post – the whole thing – was someone else.

However, please think before you share stuff like that – because by sharing it it only makes it worse. It exacerbates the negative feelings towards teachers. I do stand by my other points however.

“As to your second point, Firstly I did not actually use the word urgent but now that you have – do you not feel it’s urgent to protect children, families and staff? Again I will point out that in England and Wales (where there are larger populations,) a number of staff in Education have died already, they are seeing rising numbers of deaths in males aged 35 – 49 (perhaps your average teacher’s age,) and yes there tragically have been some children who have died too – the facts are there if you search for them. There is also the fact that we don’t yet know what will happen with breakfast clubs, afterschool care – if parents are relying on grandparents to do the childcare after school we still do not have absolute solid proof that children aren’t carriers of Covid-19.

So whilst, yes isolating the few, might work for a while there is no guarantee that this will not create a second wave. And again I understand how the economy works despite your condescension that this is not the case. I very, clearly, understand that money does not “just appear out of nowhere.” Let’s not bring, what is a healthy debate, down to a level of insulting one another!”

Mark
Mark
16 days ago
Reply to  Alex

No of course it’s not “urgent” to “protect …”, because there is no significant risk to protect anyone from (other than for, as i pointed out, small numbers of particularly vulnerable people who should be given the option of isolation).

You need to look at the actual risk levels in this disease, not focus on the numbers of people who die. In a nation of 67 million very small risks do produce numbers that look big in isolation. But those risks are still tiny.

Do you understand that around 1500-1750 people die in the UK on average every single day regardless of covid?

The actual risks involved do not remotely justify what we are doing to our children’s education or to our economy. It’s not an insult to suggest that you do not understand the economy if you cannot understand that the damage we are doing to our economy by this lockdown, and by all the fear-based measures you are advocating or supporting, will itself cost lives, and probably many more than covid could ever have killed.

One recent study suggested that the lockdown (not the disease) and resulting damage to the economy could cause a net loss of 675,000 lives over the next 5 years. Do you understand the significance of that?

https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1280164/uk-coronavirus-news-death-toll-latest-r-infection-rate-uk-economy-coronavirus-study

Alex
Alex
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark, I don’t think we are going to see eye to eye on this. What I do want to say to you is I’m sorry for whatever hurt has caused you to feel it is acceptable to speak to a person, a human, like that. Of course I understand that people die daily in large numbers but when you compare Covid-19 numbers to 5 years of other things like cancer it is hugely different. Anyway, like I said I refuse to get into something if you are going to continue to speak to me in that manner. All the best.

Mark
Mark
16 days ago
Reply to  Alex

Good grief! I’m not sure I’ve encountered quite such a delicate flower in online discussion before. Impressive, if rather disturbing. No wonder you find reality so hard to cope with.

Look at the numbers. The real numbers. Put them in perspective. Realise that you are letting yourself be driven by fear, not by reason, and that your fear what’s more is grossly disproportionate to the real risks. Then recognise that the policies you are supporting are killing more people than doing nothing would have cost.

Fear is, indeed, the mind-killer, as a writer once wrote.

Mars-in-Aries
Mars-in-Aries
15 days ago
Reply to  Mark

This has been an interesting exchange and is a microcosm of the whole Lockdown psychological problem. Mark, on the one had, puts forward the fact that small children are at (very nearly) zero risk from Covid 19, as attested by WHO and any number of other experts. And yet “very nearly” is not close to zero enough for Alex, even though the risk is probably the same as being struck by lightning. Most accidents are in the home and there is far greater risk to a child being penned up at home rather than being allowed back to school – but that seems to be a step too far for too many parents … and teachers.

Mark
Mark
15 days ago
Reply to  Mars-in-Aries

Yes, it supports the points made in the essay here on anxiety and hyper-rationality:

The Hyper-Rationality of Crowds: COVID-19 and the Cult of Anxiety

Though tbh I was not surprised by that, but I was nonplussed at the rather dramatic reaction to what I would regard as not even particularly robust discussion on my part, at the end there.

Alex
Alex
15 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Would you like me to list the ways in which you were dismissive, condescending, assumptive and insulting towards me. And the way it has continued with this post. You have called me a “delicate flower,” said you found it “disturbing” and that I “find reality so hard to cope with.”

You’re right Mark, I am a delicate flower, and I’m happy to be so and yeah sometimes I do find this reality difficult to cope with – because there are 35,000 people who have died, I haven’t been able to visit my elderly parents, who I saw on a weekly basis. Due to my underlying health condition I’ve not really been able to go outside, or see the children who I work with at Hubs. You need to believe that I cannot wait for this to be over, but on the otherside of that I do not want people to die unnecessarily.

I’m sorry that my caring about people is so difficult for you to understand. I’m sorry that you think that the way you have spoken to me is acceptable. I’m sorry that you are continuing this when I have clearly stated that I do not wish to continue this conversation with someone who thinks it’s acceptable to speak to another human like that. I have not once insulted you or said your personality or your beliefs – not once. Is it really too much to ask in this day and age that you extend the same courtesy?

We’ll find out tomorrow what is going to happen in Scotland, and seriously I hope it is a step towards relaxing the Lockdown and making steps towards getting back into the classroom with our children. Because at the end of the day – they are my priority.

Mark Hunter
Mark Hunter
15 days ago
Reply to  Alex

“I’m sorry that my caring about people is so difficult for you to understand.”

Oh, please. The number of times that line has been rolled out during lockdown is unreal. It plays off the assumption that only people (who often have “underlying health conditions”) who think the lockdown is needed “care about people”.

Do you also care about people on the brink of suicide right now?

Do you also care about people who are literally slowly dying at home from untreated cancer?

Do you also care about vulnerable children who no longer have access to caring teachers to help give them respite from abusive parents?

Or it just “people with underlying health conditions” and elderly parents that you care about?

Alex
Alex
15 days ago
Reply to  Mark Hunter

See again you are assuming
Of course I care. I would be a monster if I didn’t care. I have lost someone to suicide – I do not wish that on anyone! I cannot imagine how awful it is for families who have lost someone during this time and aren’t able to say goodbye properly!
Untreated cancer patients – where is your evidence for this – this absolutely should not be happening – they have said that hospitals are open for treating others – so please if you know someone who this is happening to tell them to seek help.
Of course I care about the vulnerable children – you don’t know the area that I work in – I worry about those children without the lockdown!
Stop assuming you know me Mark. You do not know me, my values or what I stand for. Again notice I am not pointing out what I am assuming about you from your interactions with me and others on this page. Though one can’t help but notice you have nothing to say to Leila, who has in fact had Covid-19!

Alex
Alex
15 days ago
Reply to  Alex

My apologies – see again I’m able to admit when I’m wrong – this is in fact a different Mark! But I still stand by what I say

You do not know me. Do not assume you know me from a few interactions with someone online.

Alex
Alex
15 days ago
Reply to  Mars-in-Aries

My concern lies in the fact that they haven’t been able to prove whether or not children can carry it. I am obviously, very worried about their mental and emotional state but I don’t think it will be much better if we rush back into things and see a spike. They have only been out of school for 6 weeks. This is the length of the summer holidays, taking a bit of extra time to try and ensure that people are safe cannot be too much to ask. There is too much unknown about this particular disease to risk children and their families. Please do not assume to know me or my colleagues- it is absolutely not a step too far for too many teachers – we want what is best for our families and by that I mean the families we work with. Do you have children? Have you been reading about the inflammatory infection that children have been suffering from?
https://www.who.int/publications-detail/multisystem-inflammatory-syndrome-in-children-and-adolescents-with-covid-19
Obviously I am worried about the Economy, I do not want people losing their jobs, or suffering. I understand that money doesn’t come from nowhere – despite what Mark claimed. But we need to be safe, “even though the risk is probably the same . . . ” Probably – not definitely. Can you really blame me if I don’t want to watch another 35,000 people die in the U.K.?

Mark
Mark
14 days ago
Reply to  Alex

“Can you really blame me if I don’t want to watch another 35,000 people die in the U.K.?”

Absolutely I can blame you, if your fear of this makes you support measures that cost more than that many lives, and that cause huge amounts of misery as well. Which is exactly what is happening in this country.

In fact, 35,000 people is significantly fewer than the normal monthly death toll in this country (which is, on average, about 50,000 people dying every month). It’s just that normally you don’t care because you aren’t paying attention. Suddenly you are focusing on this blip in the death numbers, and so you care dramatically about it. And that is basically irrational.

Sally.
Sally.
15 days ago
Reply to  Alex

I too teach, in further education and I have to say that the work I have been doing ever since lock-down has been minimal, and bears no relationship to the amount of work I normally do. However I suspect that the same could not be said for management both senior and middle. Despite enjoying this, we need to get back to work and not only for our students. We are important workers and when we get back to work, society too will start to come out to come out of the present state of affairs. . I know that certain procedures will need to be acted on, both to protect staff who are older, and also those students who have adults who need protecting at home. It is all possible and should be done now.

Deborah
Deborah
16 days ago

I totally agree with you- rest assured you are not alone.

Harmony Schofield
Harmony Schofield
16 days ago

It’s just ridiculous. If I get cv it’s life threatening. I’m shielding. The thought of risking the children picking up the virus and taking it home to potentially kill me versus a couple of more months home schooling is a no brainer. The reason people are upset is because your views which you are pushing for could potentially kill people like me. And we’re a one parent family already.

Mark
Mark
16 days ago

“If I get cv it’s life threatening”

So’s the flu, for some people, but we never deprive everyone’s children of education and proper social contact for that.

All the evidence shows that this disease is hardly dangerous at all, for the vast majority of people, certainly of those who are of an age likely to have school age children at home. So the obvious way to address the minority, perhaps such as yourself, who are concerned about a potential risk to their own lives due to particular vulnerability, is to allow those in your position to homeschool, until you feel the threat is gone.

There is simply no rational justification for keeping the vast majority of children out of school.

Sarah
Sarah
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark

There is a vaccine for the common flu though. Both my child and I recieve it for being asthmatic. There isn’t a vaccine for Covid (yet) so the original commenter has every right to be worried about their child passing it on. Honestly this whole thread is ridiculous.

Mark
Mark
16 days ago
Reply to  Sarah

Vaccine’s got nothing to do with it. Either you are worried about the (tiny for the vast majority) risk of covid, in which case you can keep your children at home, or you are not concerned about it (the only rational position for the vast majority unless you are paralysed by fear of tiny risks) and you should get your children educated and properly socialised.

Mark
Mark
14 days ago
Reply to  Alex

These are two different diseases, obviously they are different in details. In some ways this virus is more similar to the common cold (also caused in some cases by coronaviruses), which is what it really is – a bad cold. But broadly speaking in terms of its impact on society (unless, obviously, society chooses to panic and overreact grossly, as we have done) it is similar to flu rather than to a disease that has a really high death rate, and as the article you linked points out this coronavirus is rather less dangerous to children and young people and rather more to the very elderly. We don’t know yet whether the infection fatality rate will be higher than flu or lower overall, although most indications are that it will be higher. But it is clearly in the same ballpark, which is to say very small. The arguments are about where it will be in the range from below 0.1% to about 1%. And these rates are much, much lower for the general population, because the vast majority of the deaths are to the very old and the already very ill. For comparison, a really deadly disease (once you’ve caught it) such as ebola has infection fatality rates ranging from 20% to 80%, and it hits all age groups very heavily.

Again, you need to step back from obsessing about details and about tiny risks, and just recognise that risks in this very low range are better left on one side rather than allowing fear of them to change your life. As I have pointed out (but you prefer to remain in evident denial of) the costs of trying to suppress this disease will exceed anything the disease on its own could possibly have inflicted, even just in terms of lives lost (certainly of life years lost), and the economic misery on top of the lives lost will be catastrophic. You just aren’t facing up to those costs while you obsess about these tiny risks.

I could post links to all kinds of scientific studies backing up my points above, but it would probably be a waste of time. You could also post lots of studies raising all kinds of theoretical possibilities of slightly higher risk levels, and in the end we will be no further on. Since in this you are basically relying on the selective expert opinions fed to you by the media that have tended to exaggerate the risks mostly by focusing on worst cases, I will just give you a list of top world experts in diseases of this kind who have suggested that in fact this disease is best regarded as comparable to a flu or cold. Make of it what you will.

In the end you can choose to continue to go through life crippled by fear of this not very dangerous disease or you can choose to change your attitude. I cannot compel you to do so.

Prof. Klaus Püschel, for instance, a respected pathologist and head of the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Hamburg University Hospital, argues that “in the end, COVID-19 is a viral disease like the flu, which in most cases is harmless and is only fatal in exceptional cases.
https://www.politicopathy.com/2020/05/11/germanys-das-bild-says-lockdown-was-a-huge-mistake/

Podcast 8/5/20
“The death rate due to this disease is probably going to end up round about 0.1%, which is similar to flu”
John Lee is a recently retired professor of pathology and a former NHS consultant pathologist, who writes for the Spectator
https://www.buzzsprout.com/1013854/3675205-episode-4-dr-john-lee-part-1?client_source=twitter_card&player_type=full_screen
(From ~15 mins in)

“I expect about 0.1 or 0.2 percent, the same mortality rate as with influenza. I think this virus is comparable to influenza, but it could be a little more dangerous. If influenza were a new disease, nobody had it yet, and it had suddenly come into the world, the reaction of most countries would be the same as that of the corona virus.”
Johan Giesecke, one of the world’s most senior epidemiologists, advisor to the Swedish Government (he hired Anders Tegnell who is currently directing Swedish strategy), the first Chief Scientist of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and an advisor to the director general of the WHO
https://www.addendum.org/coronavirus/interview-johan-giesecke/

“There is no evidence to show that the 2019 coronavirus is more lethal than respiratory adenoviruses, influenza viruses, coronaviruses from previous years, or rhinoviruses responsible for the common cold.”
Dr Pablo Goldschmidt, an Argentine-French virologist specializing in tropical diseases, and Professor of Molecular Pharmacology at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry of the University of Buenos Aires and Faculty of Medicine of the Hospital Center of Pitié-Salpetrière, Paris.
– Interview on Clarin.com, 9th March 2020, quoted in https://off-guardian.org/2020/03/28/10-more-experts-criticising-the-coronavirus-panic/

“That is the main fear: the disease is presented as a terrible disease. The disease per se is like the flu in a normal winter. It is even weaker in the first week.”
Dr Karin Mölling, a German virologist whose research focused on retroviruses, particularly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). She was a full professor and director of the Institute of Medical Virology at the University of Zurich from 1993 until her retirement in 2008 and received multiple honours and awards for her work.
– Interview on Anti-Empire.com, 23rd March 2020, quoted in https://off-guardian.org/2020/03/28/10-more-experts-criticising-the-coronavirus-panic/

“Personally, I view this Covid outbreak as akin to a bad winter influenza epidemic”
Dr. John Oxford, an English virologist and Professor at Queen Mary, University of London. He is a leading expert on influenza, including bird flu and the 1918 Spanish Influenza, and HIV/AIDS.
https://novuscomms.com/2020/03/31/a-view-from-the-hvivo-open-orphan-orph-laboratory-professor-john-oxford/

“If you take these numbers into account, they suggest that the infection fatality rate for this new coronavirus is likely to be in the same ballpark as seasonal influenza.”
John Ioannidis, Stanford University’s Rehnborg Chair in Disease Prevention, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Population Health, and (by courtesy) of Biomedical Data Science, and of Statistics; co-Director, Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS).
https://allergiesandyourgut.com/2020/04/27/coronavirus-19s-infection-fatality-rate-is-about-the-same-as-for-seasonal-flu-stanford-university-epidemiologist-dr-john-ioannidis/

John Nicholls, pathology professor at the University of Hong Kong, has spent the past 25 years studying coronavirus and he served as a key member of the team that characterized SARS. The Hong Kong University Faculty of Medicine’s Clinical Research Centre also created the world’s first lab-grown copy of novel coronavirus, according to CNN correspondent Kristie Lu Stout, giving researchers a major breakthrough in understanding the behavior of the virus:
“”Compared to SARS and MERS, we are talking about a coronavirus that has a mortality rate of eight to 10 times less deadly to SARS to MERS,” Nicholls said. “So, a correct comparison is not SARS or MERS but a severe cold. Basically, this is a severe form of the cold.””
https://www.accuweather.com/en/health-wellness/coronavirus-expert-says-the-virus-will-burn-itself-out-in-about-6-months/679415

Sylvia
Sylvia
16 days ago

To KJW you haven’t put all the information in this article. I read your initial post and slot of the comments. After it was shut down, you started another post where people including yourself, were allowed to respond to the comments. You even joked about the ‘G&T’ comment with the person who sent it saying you were off for a drink! It seems you stated this was an offensive comment but then joked about it and had what seemed to be a reasonable conversation with this person. The EGG forum is quite often light hearted and jokey. I understand that attacking you for your opinion is unfair. I also saw that you name call when others don’t share your opinion. As if you are the most informed person out there. Maybe you are but after reading this article I don’t think you take all information into account, just what you want to add, and those that don’t agree are belittled into being deemed stupid. Not a well rounded article in my opinion. I’m sure you’ll be unhappy with my response because I don’t agree with your one sided approach. I thought journalists were supposed to be more well rounded. At least you have your opinion out there for all to see! Good luck with your petition.

Sandra
Sandra
16 days ago
Reply to  Sylvia

That’s exactly what I thought when I read it. I also read the initial article which slated teachers and made out those of us who were against returning too soon were stupid. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but it would appear that anyone who doesn’t agree with her is either I’ll informed or a bad parent. Yes children need to be back with interaction from the teachers (my eldest missed his nat5s and has now started his higher course) but it’s not just the safety of the children, it’s the teachers, the janitors, the office staff, the dinner ladies, the cleaners. Children may not be at high risk but they can carry it. Until we see the rates coming down its sensible to keep the schools closed and keep socially distancing.

Lorna Park
Lorna Park
16 days ago
Reply to  Sylvia

Whole heartedly agree. I don’t like the whole provocation that went on and then the woe is me when people didn’t agree. She has managed to insult parents and teachers in one go. So angry that teachers should be bullied back to work with the whole you should be a hero like NHS staff attitude. The fact is I don’t believe it’s about education at all.

Anonymous Egg
Anonymous Egg
16 days ago
Reply to  Sylvia

So glad that someone else has seen this and come to the defence of the EGG page. She provoked a response and then acted the victim to subsequently accuse everyone of being conformists in a completely condescending get the last word in post!

Caroline
Caroline
16 days ago

I am so with you on this … this Scottish government has gone completely mad! In fact Britain has lost all perspective. Our children are being held back due to the incompetence and scaremongering by our governments. This is a virus like many to come that only affects people who have ill health and very elderly!

Robin G
Robin G
16 days ago

I heard about the EGG thread second-hand and was intrigued. Totally agree. Kudos to you for raising the subject there. Good article here!

carlrichards100
carlrichards100
16 days ago

From somebody who is politically agnostic on this issue, I wholeheartedly agree with you and appreciate you putting forward a coherent and plausible point of view.

Jojo
Jojo
16 days ago

I agree, I saw your post on EGG and was relived to see someone saying something about it on there, I am one of the ones that gave it a thumbs up but was to scared to comment, I’ve seen others being completely annihilated online due to less popular views on the whole covid 19 situation and I really admire your bravery to stand up. You should know I think a lot of people are like me, we agree that the actual disease is the hysteria caused by the media but we’re just a bit too scared to admit it for fear of the backlash!

Leila
Leila
16 days ago

This article, the way it was approached, and the total lack of balanced opinion is truly abhorrent. I stayed out of the original EGG “discussions” on this… but now I feel compelled to comment and in a somewhat unique position to do so. I am a medical scientist, ex-teacher, mother of a 3.5yr old (who has been off nursery obvs) and I have also now been suffering from covid-19 for 8 weeks… yes, you read that correctly: 8 extremely harrowing, terrifying, incredibly unwell weeks. I have had cause to have ambulances visit me at home twice, once as recently as this weekend just gone. I spoke to the newly established recovery line in Edinburgh yesterday and was told that my case is becoming increasingly common and the NHS is now having to pivot resources as they come to understand that the volume of people who have suffered severe disease in the community and have longer term symptoms is much much greater than the number who have been admitted to hospital. These community cases were previously assumed to have been mild. None of this is surprising as with a new virus everyone is only learning as we go and all we can do is make the best decisions based on the available evidence. Well, the evidence says that this virus kills a lot of people and also makes a lot of other people very very ill. We have no idea what the longer term implications of severe illness are. (Will people suffer relapses? Will many have long term health implications turning to chronic conditions? etc) We currently have no treatment and no vaccine so we should try and contain it as much as possible. The evidence also says that although children may not be as susceptible overall, there is a serious post-covid inflammatory illness in some children and in some children this may lead to death. There is no definite answer as yet as to why some children get ill and others don’t. We just don’t know. Also, children who do not get very ill are just as capable of passing the illness to others. Who has children and gets most of their colds brought home? Trust me, this is not a cold or flu for many of us who have suffered it, you don’t want this anywhere near you. Try looking after a 3.5yr old while experiencing stabbing chest pains. Further to all of this, we currently have very little information regarding immunity and don’t get me started on the number of strains that have already been identified – will immunity to one give protection against another? Are some deadlier than others?
The author of this article clearly has no actual experience of the virus and has placed herself and those around her in the “it won’t happen to me” category. If she really understood this virus at all and the devastation it’s wreaking on people, she couldn’t possibly write such rubbish. Does she want to watch her children suffering with the inflammatory illness? Probably not but the problem is she doesn’t believe they’ll get it. She’s willing to take the risk. Well, I’m here to tell you – it’s a game of Russian roulette. I think if the author had stared down the barrel of the severe forms of this illness, she’d be taking a very different stance. And finally, as an ex teacher, I especially take issue with the statement in the article that teachers “failed to show the professional pride that has been apparent among NHS workers…”. In my experience, the vast majority of teachers care deeply for their students, for both their education and welfare, and take great pride in shaping young lives. This has absolutely nothing to do with professional pride and everything to do with protecting themselves and their families from a serious life-threatening illness for which we as yet don’t understand the full range of health implications. What an atrocious, pick-n-mix of an article that just uses very limited self-serving opinions as “evidence”.
On behalf of the many well-spoken and highly intelligent EGGs: we will make our own evidence-based decisions and you’ll need to accept that because of that, our decisions won’t align with yours.

Nobody2020
Nobody2020
13 days ago
Reply to  Leila

Just reading through this thread for the first time today. Your experience is interesting as a high proportion of hospital admissions are from people hunkering down at home. The hypothesis being that those at home are getting more concentrated doses of the virus, cooped up recycling the same air with the rest of their household. I suspect when we finally get a chance to look back on all this the data will corroborate the hypothesis.

Nina
Nina
16 days ago

I absolutely agree with you. Children are suffering. They need socialising and they need to go to school. Online learning equals playing iPad all day. Turns them into zombies.

It’s a shame I have not seen your petition on RGGs. Would absolutely sign it.

Alex
Alex
16 days ago

Your comments about EGG are uncalled for. I think the admin did the right thing in taking your post down. Any post inciting such heated, emotional and negative commentary on that kind of social group is a misplaced post. She was doing right by everyone – including you – by taking it down. You have done yourself a real disservice focusing on that element of your story instead of making your key points the focus of your argument. You now come abroad as small minded and petty I’m afraid – and you won’t win over many people to your cause like that.

And really – saying something like “only two children”?? Shocking. That is two childen too many. Your comment devalues them and it disgusts me. What if that were your child?

You need to have a serious word with yourself.

Leila
Leila
15 days ago
Reply to  Alex

Agree with you Alex. The “only 2 children” and % stats she quotes need to be taken with a grain of salt too as this has been with the school closures in place. These figures will most certainly increase with reopening. Also, she’s not included non school age children (eg babies) who are often in households with school age children, expectant mothers etc. And very sadly another school age child died yesterday whilst this debate was going on.

backtoschool
backtoschool
5 days ago

I agree. If I could go back to school right now I would. The online lessons are boring and I really miss my friends.

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