Children do infect others with Covid-19 despite Education Secretary's claims, says health expert

10 August 2020, 20:40

Global health expert: studies of whether children spread Covid flawed

By Seán Hickey

While the Education Secretary insisted it is unlikely for children to transmit coronavirus in schools, this expert warned that the studies have some holes.

Dr Peter Drobac told Iain Dale that "there's clear evidence that children can get infected with coronavirus," and although "they seem to have a much milder course of disease...we do know they can infect others."

The Global Health Security expert at Oxford University conceded that "the benefit to having children in schools may outweigh the risk," but he remains skeptical of the reassurances coming from Gavin Williamson.

Co-founder at the University of Global Health Equity Dr Drobac said he would ask Mr Williamson "what are the government doing to mitigate and minimise those risks," as schools are set to reopen.

Iain told Dr Drobac that the findings of the government and some independent studies have results contradicting his thoughts.

Dr Dromac said that "the fact that there wasn't any transmission in those school settings," according to studies done in the Daily Mail "should be encouraging to all of us, but that is a limited amount of time and maybe only a third to 40% of children were actually in school," he reminded Iain, as the studies were done early in lockdown.

Gavin Williamson said there is little evidence to suggest that children transmit coronavirus
Gavin Williamson said there is little evidence to suggest that children transmit coronavirus. Picture: PA

He cast his mind to September and pointed out that "we won't be able to maintain the same degree of distancing and safety measures if we try to get back to normal."

Iain wondered what we could learn from countries that have opened schools, and the global health expert told him that we cannot go back to normal, or else "you're going to see a much higher risk of of schools shutting down," as has been seen in the USA.

"The more you can drive down transmission, the more you can get back to normal-like activity," he said.

Dr Dromac told Iain "we should be doing everything we can to reduce the transmission to a minimum, that's going to allow us to get back to school more safely."