February 22nd, 2021

For the Unifying Theory of SARS2COVID19 pathology that was published in September, please follow this link. In this piece, I lay out what appears to be the pathway to infection and subsequent significant illness. It will be updated in the coming months.

Opinion time continued from #2 above:

Epidemiologist Benjamin Linas has written a very thought article on why schools should be open now based on science. It is entitled, "I’m an epidemiologist and a father. Here’s why I’m losing patience with our teachers’ unions." (Linas B. 2021) I could not agree more. This is a recipe for disaster for our children. As Dr. Linas aptly states, "So, here we are, nearly one year into our national project in remote learning. It is clear that we did what was needed when Covid-19 struck. But it is also quite clear that our solution — remote learning — is failing our children and our families."

In an excellent and well referenced Washington Post Opinion piece the authors discuss the new CDC guidelines. (Allen J. 2021) It is a must read for all parents. The CDC's new K-12 guidelines essentially leaves the door wide open for any school system to choose to remain virtual for a long time. The CDC was not bold, far from it, in their plan to get children the much needed help to return to in person schooling. It does not even seem to follow the current science of school transmission risk. There are so many outs to use as leverage against opening by those on the "keep schools virtual" side of the scales that I wonder when schools will reopen. I suspect only after mass teacher vaccination which means fall of 2021. Whether it is political or what have you, the CDC does not appear to have looked at the global effect of this decision on children. As a pediatrician, I am obviously biased to believe that the scales should have added weight for the mental and educational health of the next generation lest we lose their chance at success.

I truly feel for all of the teachers that are scared, anxious and avoidant. There were many days over the last year where I stared at my skin thinking about SARS2 looking at me. After a long day in clinic, I often would shower and sit with soap on my face for 30 seconds thinking about viral death. I envisioned the viral cell wall exploding. I looked at surfaces as sources of viral disease. It sounds crazy, but pandemics make us all a little nuts. I was nuts at times. I never really every talked about it. It just was.

Working around so much disease has been tricky to say the least. However, taking care of children is our mandate. We chose it. We love them and risk comes with love. I hope that all of the teachers can read this and know that I get it. It is not fun. It actually really sucks. But it still is. They need us.

We are fully coming up on one year of lost education for a large percentage of American children. We are seeing children in our offices that are suffering from isolation, stunted social and educational growth, mood dysthymia, excessive screen usage, excessive sedentary activities, incredible weight gain likely leading to metabolic syndromes in the future and on and on. The repercussions of which we will see for years if not decades to come.

The reality that children could be out of in person high quality education for a day longer is hard to swallow. Politics has been too involved in this pandemic despite the high quality science saying that children should be back in school full stop.

It will be very hard to watch the mental health crisis unfold over the coming half decade knowing that we could have prevented it with the right scientific leadership, school leadership and high quality in person education.

I can tell you first hand that I can barely keep a 15 minute telemedicine visit on task for many of my less fortunate patients and families based on technology struggles and multiple children causing distractions for a mother or father. Single parents are doing the best that they can. I really feel for their plight. I cannot imagine how four children in these same household can learn effectively via zoom.

Yet again, I am writing about the lose lose of COVID. It is time for the children to no longer be the losers. The science is clear. They need school in person and now, not this fall or next year when 2 years of lost learning have abjectly ruined their future.

Dr. M