Teachers spread Covid-19 far more often than children, according to a leading scientist.
Shamez Ladhani, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with Public Health England (PHE), said school staff will follow social distancing rules while at work but are more likely to break them outside of the classroom.
Data shows that only one in 10,000 schools has been affected by a virus outbreak since they reopened in June. A separate analysis found that only one in 23,000 children was infected.
A PHE analysis found that 70 out of 1.6 million children who returned to school in June tested positive for Covid-19. Another 128 employees tested positive. And only 30 outbreaks have been confirmed at 23,400 schools that have reopened.
The analysis released yesterday found that most of the outbreak-related cases were in the staff area and warned that school staff "must be more vigilant to exposure outside the school environment to protect themselves, their families and the educational environment" .
Teachers spread Covid-19 far more often than children, according to a leading scientist (file image)
Dr. Shamez Ladhani, PHE's pediatric infectious disease specialist who oversaw the oversight of English schools, told The Times: “We need to train the educators.
"There is a clear need for due diligence outside of school, so employees and thus other employees and students must protect themselves."
He added, "Staff are very good at social distancing and infection control in the classroom, but leaving the school setting are more likely to break those measures and put themselves and their colleagues at risk."
Boris Johnson has asked parents to send their children back to the classroom as he is taking the initiative to open all schools next week.
The Prime Minister warned last night that students could permanently jeopardize their future life chances if they continued to stay away.
Mr Johnson, who will return to 10th place tomorrow morning after his summer break, is in a race against the clock to get schools ready and convince parents they are safe in time for the new semester to begin.
The government is facing a major test to deliver on its promise to have all children full-time again after shambolic handling of A-Level and GCSE scores.
Many students in England have not been in class since March when schools were closed, except for vulnerable children and key workers.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses during a visit to St. Joseph's Catholic School in Upminster to see new Covid-19 preparedness plans rolled out earlier this month
Mr Johnson is racing around the clock to get schools ready and convince parents they are safe
Only one in 10,000 schools was affected by virus cases when their doors reopened
Only one in 10,000 schools had a virus outbreak when they reopened in June. This resulted in a large study.
The Public Health England research also found that out of a million children attending preschool and elementary schools during that time, only 70 were infected with Covid-19.
Teenagers started the virus at home with their parents far more often than in the classroom, the authors concluded, suggesting that schools are safer than their own four walls.
The authors, whose research analyzed all educational outbreaks in England in June, stressed that students are unlikely to transmit the virus to one another in classrooms and that there are "very few" instances of them intercepting or passing it on Teacher.
In June, a total of 30 outbreaks were reported in schools where two or more people were infected. This was only 0.01 percent of the total number open, or one in 10,000. There are 24,323 schools in England.
These outbreaks affected 70 children and 128 staff, showing teachers were at higher risk. The authors also found that 20 of the 30 outbreaks were caused by teachers sharing them with one another or with students.
Only two outbreaks affected children who passed on one another.
The authors wrote, “Students acquired the infection (Covid-19) mostly at home, usually from a key worker or a parent of a health worker. Most children were asymptomatic and were only identified as part of the contact tracing after their parents developed Covid-19.
“Fortunately, we found very little transmission between the students.
In addition, there were very few transmission events between staff and students. & # 39;
Public Health England is expected to publish a second study to show that older students are much more likely to get the virus than younger children.
Findings are based on a very small number of schools that have experienced outbreaks, but which are likely to be of concern among unions and parents of secondary school students.
Mr Johnson said there was a "moral duty to reopen schools safely to all students" as he insisted that the return be led by the government's scientific and medical experts.
"We know a lot more about coronavirus now than we did earlier this year," he said.
"As the chief doctor said, the risk of getting Covid-19 in school is very low and it is far more damaging to a child's development and his health and well-being not to go to school.
“So it is vital that we bring our children back to the classroom to study and be with their friends.
"Nothing will have a greater impact on our children's chances in life than going back to school."
His comments came after the UK chief and assistant chief medical officer issued a joint statement to reassure parents that it was safe to send their children back to school.
They said "very few, if any" children and teenagers would have long-term harm from the virus just from going to school, while there would be a "certainty" of harm if they did not return.
And teachers did not have an increased risk of death compared to the general working age population.
Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, added: “The likelihood that many children will be harmed by attending school is incredibly clear and so the risk balance is very strong in favor of the children who go to school as many more children are likely to be affected hurt when you don't walk than when you walk, even during this pandemic. & # 39;
He said local lockdown measures would be applied if reopening the school resulted in an increase in infections, with the possibility of national restrictions if necessary.
Each school will be provided with coronavirus test kits so they can quickly check students when they reopen in September.
Ministers have given the go-ahead for the breakfast and after school clubs to resume to provide additional childcare so more parents can go back to work.
The unions that taught last night insisted they support the return to full-time education but continued to warn bleakly about the government's strategy.
The National Education Union said it wanted ministers to set out exactly what will happen if an outbreak occurs.
Joint Secretary General Kevin Courtney said, “School staff, parents and students are gravely disappointed with the government for the lack of a Plan B and ensuring that there is a solid trace and test in place. We believe the government is extremely negligent. & # 39;
A Daily Mail poll on Saturday showed how strongly voters feel about the need to get students back into class all day.
78 percent said it should be the government's top priority if it is safe to do so.
Given the choice of whether to reopen schools or keep pubs open when only one is allowed, 80 percent said they choose schools while 13 percent opted for pubs.
Professor Chris Whitty said the likelihood that many children will be harmed by attending school is clear and the risk is very high in favor of the children who attend school
Professor Whitty also warned that it was unlikely that a vaccine would be available by the end of this year.
He said there was a "reasonable chance" that one would be ready for next winter of 2021/22.
"I would be happy if it came sooner rather than later, but I would be quite surprised if by the end of winter, certainly before this side of Christmas, we had a high-potency vaccine ready for mass use by a large percentage of the population. " & # 39; he said.
"I think if we look forward to a year the chances are a lot bigger than if we look forward to six months and we have to consider that kind of timescale."
ARE CHILDREN IMMUNE FOR COVID-19?
Children with Covid-19 are unlikely to get seriously ill, and the risk of dying from the disease is very low, as dozen of studies have shown.
However, scientists warn that children are not immune. Anyone can become infected with the virus – technically called SARS-CoV-2.
But eight months since the pandemic started in China, doctors around the world are still baffled about why teens appear resistant to the disease.
The reasons for their resilience to the disease are still unclear, despite a wave of attempts at clarifying the truth on the controversial issue.
There is evidence that the coronavirus is haunted by existing diseases and is the most dangerous for the elderly. In comparison, the flu poses a major threat to children.
Hardly any children died of Covid-19. According to official figures, only six under 14-year-olds have succumbed to the disease in England and Wales.
Sir David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University said their risk was "incredibly small", adding, "I believe no (group) has been safer in human history."
In fact, statisticians who analyze the outbreak in the UK say teenagers are more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by the virus.
Cambridge scientists say the death rate for children under the age of 14 is around 0.00068 percent – the equivalent of seven deaths per million cases.
Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found in June that children often escape the disease without symptoms.
Only 21 percent of infected 10 to 19 year olds had symptoms. In contrast, the symptom rate was three times higher in those over 70.
Fewer symptoms and a milder illness can make children less likely to spread it, other researchers have argued.
However, two large studies from China and Germany last week concluded that children are able to transmit the virus.
Some scientists believe that youngsters are better protected against Covid-19 because they are used to catching other less harmful coronaviruses.
This can then teach their immune systems to recognize SARS-CoV-2, which allows them to fight off the infection without getting seriously ill.
Other experts say that your body may react faster or that your body may be better able to deal with viral infections because it is younger.
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