Sunday, August 23, 2020

Are We Creating The Ultimate COVID-19 Incubator?


Tampa Bay 
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD

First, there was the COVID-19 super spreader.

The label ‘super-spreader’ is a term of art that has been utilized to describe settings,
events an
d individuals. Super-spreading settings include cruise ships and airplanes as well as hospitals, care homes and potentially schools, particularly where they utilize inadequate ventilation systems.

A super-spreader, usually identified in retrospect, has a greater than average propensity to infect a larger number of people.

Now we may be creating the ultimate COVID-19 incubator.

Incubator: an apparatus with a chamber used to provide controlled environmental conditions, especially for the cultivation of microorganisms or the care and protection of premature or sick babies - Merriam-Webster.

The almost maniacal drive to reopen schools in Florida may ultimately turn out to be one of the worst public health and political decisions ever made in the State of Florida.

The concept that somehow opening the schools will put all these out of work people back to work and start the economy again has absolutely no basis in fact.

The almost unholy alliance of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran fueled by President Trump’s fanatical push to reopen schools has put virtually all the children who attend public school in Florida in jeopardy.

The mandate that all publicly funded schools open physically for educational services and the threats to withhold funding if local school districts don't follow the state mandated guidelines to reopen has created a caustic environment that impacts parents, students, teachers, school boards, school administrators, and the public in general.

For more detail check out U.S. News and World Report By Alexa Lardieri, Staff Writer: Florida Orders Schools to Reopen in Fall Despite Rising Coronavirus Cases.

The net result of the Governor and the Commissioner of Education's actions has been the creation of mass chaos resulting in Lawsuits counter lawsuits, lawsuits between unions and the state, lawsuits between school boards and the State and the unions, and in the middle parents and children who are being unnecessarily forced into situations that perpetuate the spreading of the COVID-19 virus.

All the science points out then when you pack people into closed areas even when you're taking the up most precautions super spreaders can infect those around them, and they can in turn affect those with whom they associate.

Teachers are especially fearful of taking home the coronavirus to their families and their own children. Parents are concerned that their students and children may become infected from both the teachers and their fellow students. It just seems unfathomable that the politicians are unable to grasp that.

All the science points to the fact that reopening schools and forcing children into them even with masks, sanitizing, social distancing, and all the other clever preventive clichés that float around the COVID-19 virus, are really insufficient to protect everybody who's potentially subject to being infected.

There is no economic science, no economic data, no relevant data, no repeatable data, and no verifiable data that putting all these kids back in school is going to add 1 penny to Florida’s economy.

DeSantis is following Trump's line; Cochran Is following the DeSantis line, and nobody is doing any independent thinking in this matter.

Right now, it's all in the hands of a couple of judges here in Florida. The legal challenges range from practical to constitutional. Let us hope that the judiciary doesn't punt this one by dragging their feet until something really bad happens.

Florida kids, their parents, the teachers, the school administrators, the school boards, and everyone else involved deserves the help and support of their State government not threats of withholding funding, not pushing kids back into school for some false purpose that they think will come about regarding the economy.

Let's practice public health not public stupidity.

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