White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed yesterday that “We don’t know” that COVID affects older people more than younger people. As one commentator noted, this was “anti-science disinformation straight from the White House.”
In reality, notes the Centers for Disease Control, “Older adults are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Getting very sick means that older adults with COVID-19 might need hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they might even die.The risk increases for people in their 50s and increases in 60s, 70s, and 80s. People 85 and older are the most likely to get very sick.”
As the British Society for Immunology points out, “Older people are more likely to end up in hospital with COVID-19, and the chances of dying from it go up significantly with age: people aged 60-69 are around five times more likely to die from the disease compared with those under 50, while people aged 70-79 are at 8.5 times the risk.”
“An unvaccinated child is at less risk of serious Covid illness than a vaccinated 70-year-old,” notes the New York Times.
Some progressives try to make it sound like young people face as high a risk from COVID as old people, in order to justify school closings, which had no scientific basis. But they don’t.
Politics, not students’ well-being, was behind school closures. Decisions about whether to close schools were driven mainly by teachers “union influence and politics, not safety,” reported Reason Magazine. Progressive teachers unions repeatedly blocked school reopenings. Some used “sick-outs” to shut down schools or force school boards to delay school openings.
“Schools do not, in fact, appear to be major spreaders of COVID-19,” said Professor Emily Oster of Brown University. While a few students and staff have caught the coronavirus, that doesn’t show schools spread the virus: “Even if there were no spread in schools, we’d see some cases because students and teachers can contract the disease off campus.”
Schools remained open in most of Europe. But in America, progressive teachers unions successfully pushed to keep schools closed, resulting in enormous learning loss. Kids learned less when learning from home than they did when schools were open — especially black and Hispanic students, whose pass rates collapsed in states such as Virginia.
Many children became fatter when schools closed to in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in less physical education, and less walking to and from school in our cities. Childhood obesity rose at the fastest annual rate ever. “Overweight or obesity increased among 5- through 11-year-olds from 36.2% to 45.7% during the pandemic,” reported the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Skyrocketing obesity made suffering from the coronavirus worse. “The evidence linking obesity to adverse COVID-19 outcomes is ‘overwhelmingly clear,’” say medical experts. Most people hospitalized for the coronavirus were obese. Researchers have found that COVID infects fat cells, which means it is more likely to give obese people “long COVID” or severe illness.
Supporters of school closings claimed they were needed to protect people’s health. But by driving up obesity rates, school closings harmed kids’ health. Shutting schools actually increased coronavirus deaths, according to researchers at the University of Edinburgh. The Centers for Disease Control pointed out that there’s “little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to community transmission.”