Many people are asking for a decision to reopen society. Factual data and scientific research support a decision to open the schools from 4 May.
Since a week we have seen a sharp decrease in the number of admissions of people with corona
infection in the hospital and in intensive care. The number of people who visit the GP with flu
symptoms last week was below the epidemic limit of 58 per 100,000 inhabitants. The course of the
epidemic in China, Italy and South Korea has a so-called bell shape. Just like other flu viruses. The
critical limit of a thousand people with ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) in intensive care
can be expected before April 28.
An overview study on the spread of influenza viruses during an epidemic or pandemic shows that
there is insufficient evidence for social distancing to reduce the spread. Washing hands frequently
and staying home when you are sick is important. Covid-19 is also not a contact infection, recent
research by German professor Hendrik Streeck showed. This means that the virus is not transmitted
via surfaces such as a mobile phone, door handle and toys. Only when someone coughs in his hand,
grabs the door handle and immediately another person grabs the door handle, there is a risk of
contamination. This might be a risk for schools with small children, but according to Maria Van
Kerkhove, epidemiologist and the technical lead of the WHO’s Covid-19 outbreak, no situation has
been found in which a child caused a corona infection with one of the parents.
The child can be infected by the parents and generally shows mild complaints. This means that the
contamination from children to teachers or vice versa is also a limited risk. To date, no seriously ill
children with Covid-19 without serious underlying diseases have been reported in Western society.
Recent research by Yale immunobiologist Miyu Moriyama shows that this coronavirus, like other flu
viruses, is seasonal. Higher temperature and humidity appear to activate the immune system. In the
Netherlands, too, a sharp decrease is seen with the increase in temperature.
No underlying disease was found in approximately 1 percent of people with severe symptoms of
Covid-19. The development to ARDS mainly occurs in the elderly with one or more chronic diseases.
This is comparable to the risk groups for developing ARDS from infection with an influenza virus.
If the lockdown is held longer, the stress, uncertainty and fear of parents and children can increase.
For single-parent families, families with limited space, parents with night shifts and people from the
healthcare sector, it is an enormous task to help the children to continue with school and work.
Domestic violence is a growing problem. British professor of immunology Daniel Davis writes in his
book ‘Immune’; about stress and immunity. For example, an elderly person with a partner with dementia appears to respond less well to a flu vaccination. It is important for everyone to avoid
chronic stress in order to keep future virus infections in check.
Opening schools and childcare centers is an important first step in achieving this and opening society up again.
This article appeard in Trouw newspaper the 21st of April 2020