Can We Open Schools in the US Safely?

July 22, 2020

From Ahvie Herskowitz, MD

THE BAD NEWS:

  • We are 20 times worse than our EU neighbors in positive cases AND death rates.
  • Our rising deaths will very likely get worse over the next 2 weeks, so we must begin reversing the trend immediately.
  • Can we please agree on mandatory face masks in areas with rising infection and hospitalization rates? If we do this, there is a chance that by end of August, the rising trends will be reversed and we can re—open most schools across the country in a safe and metered way.

THE GOOD NEWS:

99.2% of COVID 19 cases in the USA are labelled as “not serious cases”. These data are similar to worldwide data (98.8% of cases not “serious”). (Sourced from Worldometer database: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/.)

  • USA (1.9 million cases; 16,000 serious cases (0.8% or 1:1,250 cases).
  • Worldwide (4.9 million cases; 59,150 serious cases, (1.2% or 1:833 cases).

ADULTS ARE THE ONES AT RISK:

  • As of July 8th, CDC noted that 92% of all COVID 19 deaths are above age 55, and 80% above age 65%. The majority of serious illness occurs in patients with multiple pre-existing conditions (i.e., obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease…).

NOT YOUNG CHILDREN, TEENAGERS OR COLLEGE STUDENTS

  • Only 14 deaths in children under age 15 (1:8,333 COVID 19 deaths).
  • Only 149 deaths in ages 15-24 (1:130 COVID 19 deaths).

EDUCATE THE AT RISK ADULT POPULATION

  • At risk adults need to be educated in reducing their risk! When kids go back to school, some at risk adults and teachers will undoubtedly be exposed to COVID19.
    WHY NOT IMPLEMENT A NATIONAL EDUCATION CAMPAIGN ON HOW TO REDUCE RISK OF SERIOUS COVID19 ILLNESS IN ADULTS?
    The medical community has a lot of preventive medicine principles to share!!!
  • This is to save our nation’s economy and schools, WAITING FOR A VACCINE IS NOT A RATIONALE STRATEGY!
  • Public Health is not limited to social distancing and masks. These are our first line of defense. Yet, we need more…. we have Preventive Medicine departments in most major medical centers. Get them involved! Otherwise, we remain stuck, disempowered and continue to wait for things to worsen, or at best stay the same indefinitely.

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About Ahvie Herskowitz, MD

Dr. Herskowitz’s extensive training includes a medical degree from The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, residencies in Anatomic Pathology and Internal Medicine, and Fellowship training in Cardiology at The Johns Hopkins Medical Center. During his 12 years at Johns Hopkins, he became Associate Professor of Medicine and Immunology and Molecular Microbiology and led a research team in the study of molecular and immunological mechanisms of inflammation, autoimmunity, ischemia, heart transplantation rejection and congestive heart failure.

Dr. Herskowitz’s latest academic appointment was as Clinical Professor of Medicine at UC San Francisco. To learn more about Dr. Herskowitz, you can read it bio here.

      

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