Even as cases of COVID-19 increase across the country and child hospitalizations reach record levels, the entire U.S. political establishment continues to pursue the imminent reopening of schools.
More than one million children are expected to resume in-person education on January 3 in New York City – the epicenter of the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the United States – as part of a nationwide reopening after vacations.
Storing children in overcrowded classrooms in dilapidated, poorly ventilated buildings is a recipe for massive infection. But the pursuit of in-person education is a central goal of the Biden administration, and the White House has made it clear it will not close schools, no matter how dangerous the children are.
To support this action – driven not by public health but by the need for companies to have children in schools so their parents can return to work – the Biden administration and its top official scientists are openly and blatantly lying to the public.
“Children are as safe in school as anywhere,” Biden falsely said on Dec. 21 in a claim that lacked any scientific merit or merit.
On Wednesday, the two main official scientists of the United States – the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr Rochelle Walensky and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Dr Anthony Fauci – spoke directly lied on national television about the recent increase in child hospitalizations due to the spread of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.
Over the past month, as Omicron ravaged the United States and brought the average number of new daily infections to 347,074, hospitalizations also began to rise, with children increasingly affected. According to CDC data, for the week of December 22-28, a record average of 378 children under the age of 18 were hospitalized each day with COVID-19, a 66% increase from the previous week and greater than peak of 342 per day reached in September during the delta surge.
With its high transmissibility, the Omicron variant clearly has a much worse impact on children than any previous variant. In New York and Washington DC, pediatric hospitalizations have quintupled this month, while Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and Ohio are also seeing big increases. These trends are unfolding globally, with England reporting a record 564 child hospitalizations from COVID-19 in the past week, as well as significant increases in France and other countries.
Well aware of these numbers, Dr Walensky told MSNBC on Wednesday: “So we are seeing a higher number of children in hospitals. Of course, this is a common time of year for children to be admitted to hospitals. She added, “A lot of them actually come for another reason. But it turns out that they are tested upon arrival, and it is discovered by chance that they have COVID. “
During a White House COVID-19 response team press briefing on Wednesday, Dr Fauci echoed the remarks, saying: “Certainly more children are infected with the highly transmissible virus, and with that, there will naturally be more hospitalizations in children. It should be noted, however, that many children are hospitalized with COVID rather than because of COVID. “
This lie from Drs. Fauci and Walensky, whom they reiterated in other interviews throughout the day, are from the political swamp of the far right. The claim that most people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and no due to COVID-19 has been promoted by far-right commentators and politicians since the start of the pandemic and has been used to justify the reckless reopening of schools. In August 2021, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increased across age groups, far-right Florida Governor Ron DeSantis denied reality that children were hospitalized for COVID-19.
Dr Julia Raifman, who has been a leading advocate for the use of mask warrants, tweeted an indirect reference to Fauci and Walensky’s statements, writing: “I wish I didn’t need to say it, but [because] Fed leaders are now repeating extremist Great Barrington talking points – Trends in deaths follow trends in hospitalizations. Hundreds of children have died from Delta and I expect the same now.
Also responding to Fauci and Walensky, data scientist Dr Jorge Caballero, who has closely followed COVID-19 data on children throughout the pandemic, tweeted that “these claims are categorically false.” Presentation of several data sources proving that the vast majority of hospitalized children with COVID-19 have been admitted because they were infected with COVID-19, he added, “A decade of data shows pediatric trauma * lowest * during the winter months. “
Fauci and Walensky’s efforts to minimize risk to children are the latest expression of the Biden administration’s subordination of public health to corporate interests, which has escalated dramatically over the past month amid the disaster. ongoing Omicron push.
The two official scientists made their comments after seeking to justify the CDC’s amended guidelines on the quarantine and isolation of workers exposed or infected with COVID-19, which reduced those times to just five days without any scientific justification. These guidelines received huge criticism from scientists and workers alike because they were clearly tailored to the needs of business.
By downplaying the dangers children face, official scientists in the Biden administration are providing ideological justification for wanting to fully reopen schools on Monday, when most districts end their winter vacation. This campaign has the full support of the entire political establishment, corporate media and unions, all of which are in the service of the capitalist class. Their main goal is to ensure that the children return to school so that their parents can return to work producing a profit for the companies.
According to the Burbio aggregation site, at least 969 public K-12 schools have switched to distance learning next week. In total, there are approximately 90,000 K-12 schools in the United States, which means that only 1% of all schools are expected to be fully remote by the start of the New Year.
Wherever states are tracking data on COVID-19 outbreaks, schools are still the primary drivers of viral transmission. In Michigan, K-12 schools accounted for 60% of new outbreaks tracked last week, or 42 of 71. Due to overcrowding, poor ventilation and filtration, and the complete inability to socially distance themselves, schools are prime locations for the spread of COVID -19 and other pathogens.
The policy of returning millions of children to classrooms in the New Year will dramatically intensify the Omicron wave that is already well underway. In the past two days, the United States set two world records for new daily cases, with 587,564 new cases reported Thursday, an increase of more than 100,000 cases from the record set Wednesday. Less than 25 percent of the 74 million Americans under 18 are vaccinated, while children under five remain ineligible for vaccines.
According to data from the CDC itself, 1,040 children under the age of 18 have now died from COVID-19 in the United States. The majority of those deaths, 540, have occurred in the past four months since September 1, 2021, coinciding with the campaign to reopen the Biden administration’s homicidal schools this fall. In the past two weeks, the CDC has recorded 25 more pediatric deaths, which threatens to increase rapidly in the coming weeks.
In these extraordinary conditions, which are reflected around the world, educators in the United States and around the world are increasingly determined to fight to close schools and stop this ongoing disaster. Social media are increasingly being called upon to stage wildcat strikes for the sick in New York City and other urban centers and for parents to keep their children at home to implement de facto school closures.
These workplace actions must be organized and developed at the highest political level, which requires an assimilation of the critical experiences of the last two years. Throughout the pandemic, the most pernicious lies have been told about the impacts of COVID-19 on children and the role schools play in viral transmission. Classrooms across the United States have become crime scenes, where millions of children have been infected, in turn bringing the virus into their homes and communities.
The global workers’ investigation into the COVID-19 pandemic, launched by the World Socialist Website, will carefully investigate and document the lies and disinformation that have caused millions of people to die around the world and have led to the present catastrophe. The survey will link the story of workers in different industries, as part of the ongoing struggle to unify the international working class to stop the pandemic.
Against the conspiracy of the political establishment, media, trade unions and official scientists, the working class must exert its own independent force and take the initiative to close schools and factories to stop the spread of COVID-19 and eliminate the virus around the world. . Temporary closures, with full protection of workers’ income, must be combined with the universal deployment of all public health measures, including mass testing, contact tracing, safe isolation of infected patients, supply of high quality N95 or better masks to each person and Suite.
The struggle to protect children and all of society from unnecessary infections, death and long-term debilitation requires a political struggle against the capitalist system. The ruling class and its representatives have made it clear their determination to allow Omicron to devastate schools and workplaces. The working class must respond with collective, globally coordinated action aimed at the overthrow of all existing institutions responsible for this social crime.