“While not perfect, our infection in Canada is much better controlled coast to coast compared to the United States,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious disease consultant at Toronto General Hospital.
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“I don’t think that’s a fair comparison.”
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The report, which was released by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Association of Children’s Hospitals, determined that 338,982 children have tested positive in 49 states since the start of the pandemic, accounting for 8.8% of cases of COVID-19 in the United States.
The definition of a child depended on each state, with a number of younger children between the ages of 14 and 19.
For privacy purposes, the Canadian government combines its data collected on children with those under the age of 19.
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Of the 119,736 cases in Canada, the most recent public health data showed that 8.1% of those who tested positive were 19 years of age or younger. Children accounted for 134 of the 8,982 virus-related deaths in Canada.
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Whether Canada sees similar problems in the United States will ultimately depend on how public health plans are implemented in schools, Bogoch said.
“If the provinces are able to really facilitate physical distancing, the wearing of masks and hand hygiene in these school settings and to do it systematically in schools, everything will be fine,” he said.
Prachi Srivastava, associate professor of global education at Western University, said there was a misconception that children cannot catch or transmit the virus. This notion has turned out to be false.
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“The message to understand that children and young people are not immune means that we have to be extremely vigilant,” she said. “But the ripple effect of what this means for education is huge.”
From a global perspective, Srivastava said that schools that reopened after general community transmission had either been eliminated or “drastically reduced” to the point of almost no cases or to a manageable level were more likely to stay. open.
However, she says, this is not the case in Canada’s two most populous provinces.
“It’s not really our situation in Ontario. This is not our situation in Quebec, ”she said.
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“(Transmission rates) might be a little better in some of the other provinces in Atlantic Canada – they have a better scenario – but in Ontario and Quebec, we’re really not there.
The rate of transmission in the general community doesn’t have to be zero, she said, but it has to be manageable. And it is not an exact science.
In New Zealand, Srivastava said the country reopened schools after its community transmission rate fell to zero and since then it has not seen a resurgence of cases.
Denmark, which has also been praised for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, reopened its schools after its community transmission rate fell to 0.7% and has seen cases skyrocket again.
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But to successfully and sustainably reopen schools, Srivastava said it was crucial to have more teachers, more space and more resources for schools in hotspot communities.
In order to curb air transmission, Srivastava said schools will also need to seek to properly ventilate their buildings.
Professor Zahid Butt of the University of Waterloo, who specializes in the epidemiology of infectious diseases, said that even in jurisdictions where there are no cases, there would be at least “a few” among children once. schools reopened.
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It can be difficult to implement physical distancing when children are playing, Butt said, and children could be infected and then return home.
“There will inevitably be cases where there are sporadic cases, even as the numbers go down, because there are more people coming out and there is more interaction between people,” Butt said.
“The question is, how are you going to handle the reopening? ”
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