I’ve been harping on the problems with COVID-19 and children for months. I tend to look at the available data and extrapolate. Inevitably, other people disagree – it’s the nature of any situation where people have disagreement over which authorities to trust.
Mindful of this, I’m not even going to make an argument. My positions regarding the opening of schools, the viability of herd immunity arguments when children haven’t been vaccinated and the relative dangers to and from children are, by now, fairly well documented. Instead, I’d like to present a website to those who are unfamiliar: The COVKID Project.
The people directly responsible for it are professional epidemiologists, and the group which supports and funds the project are described on their website thusly:
The COVKID Project is a program of the Women’s Institute for Independent Social Enquiry (WiiSE), a nonpartisan, progressive think tank whose mission is to foster a just society through independent social science, humanities, arts, and public policy research.
While they are technically nonpartisan, it’s fairly rare for any people who describe themselves as a “progressive think tank” to push Republican talking points; if anything, skewed results from such organizations tend to favor Democrats or Green Party positions.
The group updates irregularly with the available data. In keeping with the views stated at WiiSE, they are heavily focused on the racial and ethnic disparities of the children most clearly affected by the disease, and they make clear their displeasure with the very limited reporting of those metrics by state officials. Still, it’s a very useful site for anyone wishing, for example, to see where cases for children and teens are rising or falling, or where the largest numbers of cases exist. It can also help put the number of cases in perspective. Should one be focused exclusively on mortality, those numbers are available. If, on the other hand, there are concerns about non-fatal effects like heart and lung damage, encephalitis or long COVID-19, the positive case figures are charted.
People can then take that information, such as the rapid spread throughout Massachusetts, and research for themselves what variables may have been recently introduced which might have changed those numbers. My own inquiries led to the decision by Governor Charlie Baker to override local school boards and instruct all K-8 schools to open for daily instruction starting in early April, shortly before the recent surge, but that direction was likely fueled by my existing bias.
One way or another, it’s an effective site to provide useful information that might run counter to expectation, such as the six states with the largest recorded growth in child COVID-19 cases being Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington State, Oregon, Indiana and Iowa. Or their report cards on data reporting, which provides a state-by-state letter grade based on a variety of standards. (The best in the nation is Georgia with a B+; the worst are New York, Maine, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Kentucky with Ds. Florida, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Kansas are the only states to earn a B, while the rest of the nation hovers between B- to C-.)
More information and accurate information are always good things to have, particularly in a time when people are pressing to open not just schools but nearly everything else while an overwhelming majority of children have not been vaccinated.