Yet Another Study Says School Closures Have No Impact on COVID-19

A new study published in Nature estimates that lockdown orders around the world “prevented or delayed on the order of 62 million confirmed cases, corresponding to averting roughly 530 million total infections.” That’s a lot! However, be aware that this is, as usual, based on a model of COVID-19 spread that may or may not be accurate.

In the US, the authors estimate that as of April 6, countermeasures reduced the number of cases by 4.8 million, or about 20,000 deaths using the current best estimate of the infection mortality ratio. That’s a whopping 93 percent decrease in cases and a 70 percent decrease in deaths.

But that’s not what interests me. This is:

The authors tried to tease out the impact of individual countermeasures and they confirmed what other studies have shown. First, school closures have no effect. Nor does shutting down churches. Travel bans are also ineffective. Just generally, rules banning large gatherings appear to have little impact. The measures with the highest impact are business closures, quarantines, home isolation, and general social distancing.

All of this has to be considered tentative, but this is now the third study I’ve seen showing that school closures have no effect—or even a slightly negative effect. These are empirical studies, and it’s frustrating that they don’t tell us why school closures have so little impact. Nonetheless, that’s what they show. I hope we take this to heart and re-open schools in the fall without thinking we have to take massive and debilitating (and expensive) countermeasures. There are some obvious things we can do to protect both kids and teachers, but generally speaking, it sure looks like only modest measures are needed to re-open schools safely without increasing the danger of COVID-19 spread.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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