It was not Covid that made this school year so difficult, but rather a huge and unjustified alarmism, unfortunately fed by the media.
Let’s start with numbers: schools are finally open from April 7th. And since then the contagion curve has continued to decline both where it opened and in an almost identical way in those local situations where instead irrational closures have been insisted upon. And that school was supposed to be the last possibly to close and the first to reopen because closing schools was of little or no avail I had explained it in about ten contributions here, here, here, here, here and here.
Many European countries opened schools in May 2020, yet there has been no resumption of the pandemic back then. However, in October the “fourteenth day theory” began circulating in the media: that is, that the explosion of infections did not depend so much on a seasonal trend of SARS-CoV-2 (in a similar way to other known coronaviruses) , but rather from the reopening of schools.
Let’s retrace what happened through some statements that everyone can judge whether the facts have denied them or not.
October 24: “The reopening of schools acted as a powerful amplifier of the contagion.”
November 14th: “It was the school that triggered the surge in graphics.”
January 6: “Only two weeks passed between the reopening of the school in September and the start of the exponential phase … The reopening of the schools was the only new event that occurred in Italy in that period of time.”
The hypothesis “Engine school of contagion” was denied by Ecdc, the European center for disease control, the highest European health authority, by WHO (schools are the last to close and the first to reopen), by the Higher Institute of Health (only 2% of identified outbreaks of scholastic origin), from Scientific Technical Committee, and from a specific study on the Italian reality of the scientist Sara Gandini and collaborators, who showed that school had little or nothing to do with it, and that for this reason it was the object of unspeakable sexist attacks.
An important work of prof. Alberto Villani and collaborators with the eloquent title “safe schools with respect for precautions” with sweeping tests on the entire school population of an institution including Rome (1200 people), while finding about 16 positives, did not identify even a contagion that occurred within that school.
The alarmism resumed with the reopening in January, after which there was no surge in infections, which indeed fell). But instead of admit the mistake, there are those who have continued with the same theories as before, adding that now that the “English variant” arrived, everything would have changed.
February 7: “Open schools favor the spread of the virus”
February 27: “The increase in intensive care admissions is greater in the Regions where people returned first in class”. Data here too that I have not yet published in any scientific journal.
And all this alarmism unfortunately managed to close the schools in early March. When the contagion curve was already reaching its peak, and soon it would begin its spontaneous descent.
Disasters were obviously also predicted for the reopening of April 7:
March 24: “Twice we reopened the schools – in September and January – and twice the contagion curve has soared. A case? No. And there is scientific evidence. ” Scientific evidence? The contagion curve did not rise at all in either January or April. A case, I add?
April 19 “As in October and February, the school is primarily responsible for the increase in infections, which will rise again”.
April 23: “There are no numbers for reopening”
April 26: “I foresee that in 3-5 weeks we will have to close. Most of all, school worries me. It has been shown that, following the return of the students in attendance, the RT increases by 25% in 4 weeks. Within 7-10 days the curve will return to flat and then start to rise again. “
From March until today, the famous English variant has become the 90% of all those circulating, yet there has been no resumption of contagions nor any upsurge in the rt index. And that the presence of the variants did not impose any change of strategy for schools was explained by the WHO. Since April, media coverage has been given to quarantines but when then in the vast majority of cases the only positive had not infected anyone else, the “non-news” was silenced.
With an incidence of less than 30 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (down and never so low since September), we have arrived at the end of the school year. Unfortunately, we have only begun to see the damage caused by the closure of schools: psychological distress, training delays, school dropouts, students who have experienced distance learning very badly.
According to a recent survey by Save The Children, a third of the students (29.3%) do not know how to download a document from a school platform, 13.6% are in absolute poverty, 1 in 3 do not have a tablet and one in 7 not even a PC at home. And despite the overexposure to digital, 46.1% are unable to recognize fake news compared to current events and 56.8% are not aware of the transfer of their personal data to social media.
Digital natives, but they have been transformed into uncritical and unwitting consumers. Will anyone ever apologize to our young people?