Coronavirus School Closings: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too LateRoundup
tags: education, public health, epidemics, coronavirus
Howard Markel is the George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine and Director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan.
My research on the long history of epidemics has taught me that when it comes to outbreaks of contagious respiratory infections, closing schools can help prevent many thousands of illnesses and deaths.
Schools are community gathering places where large numbers of people are in proximity to one another and respiratory infections can easily spread among young people and adults alike. Shutting them down can be a key part of slowing the spread of easily transmissible viruses so that hospitals are not overrun with sick people, and it can help to buy time to allow for the development of antiviral medications, medical treatments or a vaccine.
But policymakers working to stop the spread of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 should remember a key part of this historically informed equation: We can’t wait until it’s too late.
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