Obesity increases the risk of coronavirus, and coronavirus increases the risk of obesity, and nobody wants their kids to suffer from either. Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding. who has other degrees although he is not an M.D., tracks the rates of transmission among children and young people. Through his social media presence, the former Harvard University researcher and faculty member reports on the progress of the virus in all its permutations. Currently, he is a Senior Fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, described as a non-profit think-tank.
In the very recent past, Dr. Feigl-Ding has reported that Israeli officials are alarmed by the “sharp rise” in COVID-19 cases among children and teens. Sharon Alroy-Preis, who is head of Public Health Services, has announced that kids now account for about 40% of new cases — and mostly these children are between six and nine years old. Last week the country opened its first pediatric coronavirus Intensive Care Unit.
According to The Jerusalem Post, more than 50,000 children and teens have been diagnosed with coronavirus since the start of the month, many more than Israel saw in any month during the first or second waves. Authorities suggest this is due to the ravenously contagious British variant of the disease. To complicate matters, children cannot be vaccinated because the requisite drug trials were not carried out with their age group. Even among the teachers, only about one-third of them have been vaccinated so far, and the debate over reopening schools is quite heated.
Italy, Britain in trouble too
Dr. Feigl-Ding also discusses Corzano, Italy, where 10% of the residents test positive for the virus’s #B117 variant. He quotes the town’s mayor as saying,
60% of cases are kids from kindergarten and primary school, other 40% are their parents.
The village’s schools are of course now closed. Transmission is particularly sneaky when children are infected and contagious but have not yet developed symptoms, and it seems an awful lot of them never get really noticeable symptoms, but can still pass along the virus. Unfortunately, an asymptomatic person can get that job done just as well as a very sick one. The only good news is that most of the child victims do not become gravely ill, so at least the hospitals might catch a break.
The #B117 strain is quite successful in the United Kingdom, too, where daycare centers have been open, and in-person school has been struggling along with 20% attendance. The five to nine-years-olds are getting hammered. Infection rates for newborns to four-year-olds are rising too. It is suspected that the statistics are probably even worse than they appear because children are diagnosed on the basis of symptoms like fever and cough, and not by the actual laboratory tests.
Dr. Feigl-Ding has been criticized by some journalists and infectious disease experts who describe his work with terms like misleading, lacking in nuance, alarmist, fear-mongering, and intentionally provocative. Many people in positions of authority seem to believe that spreading panic is the worst-case scenario. Others feel that, if ever there was a time for appropriate, suitable, warranted panic, this seems to be that moment. The subject of all controversy himself says,
The world needs more whistleblowers.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “Spike in kids with COVID-19 means Israel unlikely to open schools, JPost.com, 01/26/21
Source: “Covid’s Cassandra: The Swift, Complicated Rise of Eric Feigl-Ding,” Undark.org, 11/25/20
Image by Ron Reiring/CC BY-SA 2.0