School worry

I AM concerned about children and teachers in schools in relation to Covid.

But not for the reasons being headlined nationally in media.

It is reported that ‘cases’ are rising amongst pupils.

Some schools are calling for closures again, out of worries of spreading infections.

Studies have persistently shown children have a very low vulnerability to Covid infection. “Cases” reported, meaning positive PCR test results, don’t mean they have infections. Far from it. Most are asymptomatic. Covid survival rate for age 0-19 = 99.997%.

For children Covid-19 is less dangerous than the yearly recurring flu.

Contrast with above 70 years olds, where survival rate is 94.6%. Moreover, the case for vaccinating children is zilch.

Children as a rule are also not transmitters, i.e. do NOT pass it on to adults. Study in April: “Children contract the coronavirus less often and with less severity… there doesn’t appear to be cases of a child passing Covid-19 to an adult.” A study in August was titled: “Covid-19 transmission and children: the child is not to blame.” Rare exceptions are headlined in media, irresponsibly, as the general rule still holds, found repeatedly in studies.

So why the panic in schools, from headlines, from teachers’ unions? It appears to be a political thing, with both politicians and unions using fears as a tool to bash the other. A truly sorry state.

Fears on Covid emanating from teachers and parents, in schools around children – these fears will be absorbed like a sponge by the children, with huge implications for their mental health and well-being.

Our fears are far more dangerous for our children than the Covid virus. They need positivity, love, calm - and they need each other, in social interaction and play.

Fear is indeed a very potent tool to influence public attitudes.

In 2010 Glen Nowak, Acting director of media relations at the USA Centre for Disease Control, outlined in a guide how, in order to achieve greater vaccination uptake for the flu, dangers must be overemphasised, with repeated stark images presented in media, including scenes from hospitals, in targeted manner to arouse fears in the public.

In 2020, the UK government has followed similar advice from the Behavioural Insights Team for encouraging compliance on rules and for uptake of vaccines, combining fear with rewards for following the government line.

Many psychologists have written on how fears can be used for controlling behaviour. People ‘react’ then without reason: fear reactions bypass the frontal cortex of the brain.

Discussion and open debate are out. Fear drives anger against any who speak differently. It drives compliance. We see this daily.

We need to take a step back and realise how our emotions and actions are being manipulated.

Not just for children: we all need to recapture reason, positivity (which in itself is good for health, as opposed to fear, which lowers our immunity) and love.

For humanity, for the future.

Richard Brinton