Schools open: Expert estimates mortality risk to 13.5m pupils if schools open too early

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The 13.5 million young people and children in the UK are at risk of being “exposed” to the coronavirus, an expert has warned. Professor Joy Lawn from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine spoke to LBC about the impact of reopening schools too soon. The scientist claimed that even if the risk is low, applying that risk to a big population would, unfortunately, mean deaths among children.

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She told LBC: “From the best estimates we have on mortality at the moment, the mortality risk for children is extremely small, probably 0.006 percent.

“At the moment, because of lockdown, we’ve managed to keep our risk of infection down.

“But if the risk of infection increases, for example after lockdown and when schools open again, then that would be an issue.

“If every child in the UK was to be exposed, then that’s 13.5 million.”

READ MORE: School closures UK: Children out of education for ‘considerable time’

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School closures UK: Expert reveals ‘mortality risk’ to nearly 14 million children of reopening early (Image: YOUTUBE)

Kate Middleton suffers embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in early years video

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson (Image: PTV)

Professor Lawn continued: “If you apply that very tiny risk, you would still see around 800 deaths.

“So it all depends on both protecting people and then also how we manage those cases. Both are critical to preventing deaths.

“What we’re sure about is that when children get it, they are less likely to have this condition seriously.”

The expert acknowledged that this had massive implications for schools returning but also noted why reopening was necessary.

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Kate Middleton suffers embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in early years video

“If every child in the UK was to be exposed, then that’s 13.5 million.” (Image: YOUTUBE)

She added: “There’s also a balance. We’re obviously really trying to affect the direct effect of this infection. But also there are huge consequences of being out of school.

“Being at home, missing routine immunisation care, late detection of cancers both for children and the whole population.

“It’s a balance of risks – their health, but also for mental health and well-being.”

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The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has revealed that schools in England will be reopened in a “phased manner”.

He told the Education Select Committee the date for opening would depend on scientific advice – but schools would get “as much notice as possible”.

Mr Williamson said: “All schools returning on day one with a full complement of pupils would not be realistic.

“Every child is going to have suffered from not being in school.

“When we bring schools back – and I think everyone wants to see schools returning – they will return in a phased manner.”


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