In Response to Dr. Molly Rutherford’s Statement About “Virus Paranoia,” published in Courier Journal newspaper, August 27th:
Dr. Rutherford states “Governor Beshear’s recent recommendation to delay school reopening is not rooted in science.” (8/27) In this, Dr. Rutherford conveniently ignores “one of the best studies we’ve had to date” on the ability of children over ten years old to transmit COVID-19 to adults, according to Dr. Ashish Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.
Dr. Jha, among many others, emphasizes how this large study in South Korea has found that children “between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as well as adults do” (New York Times, 7/30).
JAMA Pediatrics published a study online on July 30th stating: “…young children can potentially be important drivers of SARS-CoV-2 spread in the general population, as has been demonstrated with respiratory syncytial virus, where children with high viral loads are more likely to transmit.”
Dr. Rutherford also states schools in the United States should reopen as they have in Europe and Quebec. Except in those places overall community transmission of COVID-19 has been minuscule relative to rates here, which continue increasing. For example, on August 21st in Quebec—population of about 8.5 million—there were reported 93 new virus cases and 1 death.
On August 21st in Kentucky alone—population about 4.5 million—there were reported 785 new virus cases and 8 deaths.
Teachers are also not the only staff who could very well bring the virus home to their families. Custodians, cafeteria and office workers, bus drivers and other support staff could also become infected and spread the deadly contagion to grandparents and immunosuppressed folks at home.
This is not “virus paranoia,” it is reality.