Period. 29 September - 5 October 2020
  • As colleges across North America reopened through August and September, a new study by the U.S. CDC suggests weekly COVID-19 cases among young adults aged 18-22 more than doubled across the country, and as much as 144% in the Northeastern U.S., with increases not solely attributable to greater testing. Health experts have long expressed reservations about prematurely reopening schools, particularly given the challenges with enacting public health interventions such as mask wearing, social distancing, hygiene etiquette and testing capacities on campuses. Countries around the world have also been divided on the reopening of primary and secondary schools, as school boards have made differing decisions on whether to resume classes with COVID-19 precautions or to continue with electronic and/or distance-based learning platforms. A study last week in Health Affairs outlining the risk percentage of COVID-19 exposure to both students and faculty members, projecting that 34-44 million adults in the U.S. are at an increased risk of severe COVID-19 from direct or indirect school exposure alone. The researchers based their analysis on pre-pandemic census data to evaluate how often at-risk individuals were connected to schools. The findings suggest that between 42-51.4% of all school employees had elevated risk of severe COVID-19, while 63.2% of employees and 58.7% of students lived with at least one “at-risk” adult. The racial divide was also captured, as Black (67.3%) and Hispanic (64.6%) children were most likely to live with an ‘at-risk’ adult.

This development is part of the digest;