Donald Trump knows the dangers of congregating right now. It is why he cancelled his GOP “convention” that he created when the RNC wouldn’t commit to allowing packed arena’s in the early stages of this pandemic. This point is an important one when you consider that this means Trump knows the dangers inherent with starting schools around the country, many that same week. This means that the convention in Jacksonville was deemed to dangerous, while schools in Jacksonville (and all around the country) are being ordered to return to physical classrooms.
If we let that sink in, then the title starts to sound less like hyperbole, and more like a president so obsessed with his re-election gambit that he is willing to gamble the lives of our children, and even “gamble” is putting it lightly. We know for a mathematical fact that when we re-open schools in August, children will die, and the families of children who spread COVID-19 will die. It’s not just the cost of lives, or the permanent damage that can be caused by COVID-19, it is also the psychological damage. Imagine you are a 10 year old child and have to live with the fact that an outbreak happened in your classroom which contributed to the death of a family member you spread it to at home. What is that trauma going to entail? Will they hold that guilt with them their entire lives?
We presently are dealing with multiple epidemics in this country. The first is COVID-19, and as of this writing it has infected four million Americans and killed 150,000 of us. It is on track to becoming a (if not the) leading cause of death in the United States of America this year. We know what will happen when nearly 75 million school and university students return to the classroom. Indoor classrooms in this country will become virus incubators for COVID-19. With poor ventilation and 20+ people in an average 900 square foot room for over an hour, breathing, talking, and sharing the same air, we can come to a pretty precise calculation of how many classrooms will become super-spreader events as the R Naught in enclosed rooms can be as high as 6.4.
The Trump administration knows this, which is why they cancelled Jacksonville, but how much will that matter when education systems start to contribute tens of millions of new infections for a virus with no proven immunity buildup? The outcome could be hundreds of millions of infections as some health officials initially projected, with schools being the number one contributor to these infections. If that happened, the corresponding death count would be more cataclysmic than any event in the history of the United States of America, with more fatalities than any event we have had since World War II.
And again, it’s not just the fatalities we need to worry about. New studies indicate as many as one-third people infected will experience permanent damage from COVID-19.
One bit of good news in this regard has come from a German study showing the rate of infection in German schools was relatively low, however the social approach in Sweden and Nordic societies presumes a different approach to interaction than we will experience in the United States. However, data building on that shows that it is only relevant for children under 10 years old, as children 11 – 19 can spread the infections just as much as adults do.
The question with this policy is the same question with any other action Donald Trump takes. While it doesn’t necessarily mean Trump is trying to cause death and chaos on purpose, he sure seems to take a significant amount of actions that can easily be construed as having that effect. How many coincidences can we blame on incompetence?