Schools have NOT become coronavirus super-spreaders, economist’s analysis finds

Biz Pac Review:

  • Brown University economist Emily Oster is collecting data on 200,000 children in 47 states
  • Students had an infection rate of 0.13% and staff had an infection rate of 0.24%.
  • Schools do not, in fact, appear to be major spreaders of COVID-19.”

Schools have not become the super-spreaders that officials feared, according to Brown University economist Emily Oster.

“It’s now October,” Oster wrote in an Atlantic op-ed. “We are starting to get an evidence-based picture of how school reopenings and remote learning are going (those photos of hallways don’t count), and the evidence is pointing in one direction. Schools do not, in fact, appear to be major spreaders of COVID-19.”

Oster wrote that she has been collecting data on 200,000 children in 47 states in collaboration with school principal and superintendent associations as well as data scientists at the technology company Qualtrics. This data, which is from the last two weeks of September, found that students had an infection rate of 0.13% and staff had an infection rate of 0.24%.

“That’s about 1.3 infections over two weeks in a school of 1,000 kids, or 2.2 infections over two weeks in a group of 1,000 staff,” Oster wrote. “Even in high-risk areas of the country, the student rates were well under half a percent.”

The economist pointed out that other school based data shows low rates as well, noting that the state of Texas reported a rate of only 0.14% with 1,490 student cases out of an estimated 1,080,317 students. Staff reported cases were at 0.10, she said.

“These numbers are not zero, which for some people means the numbers are not good enough,” she wrote. “But zero was never a realistic expectation. We know that children can get COVID-19, even if they do tend to have less serious cases. Even if there were no spread in schools, we’d see some cases, because students and teachers can contract the disease off campus. But the numbers are small—smaller than what many had forecasted.”

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