How many are enough?
SC DHEC reported 11,478 new Covid cases for the week of July 4, up 33% from the week of June 27 and up 782% from the week of May 23 when the governor relaxed restrictions. The first wave of the epidemic is surging, and some people say we can’t get emotionally attached to individual lives. Some say the sacrifice (of other people) is necessary, including turning millions of school children into virus factories and aiming them at America like a flamethrower on pine straw.
The president said he will pressure the states to open public schools − on time − because “99% of cases”, the virus is “totally harmless.” Is Trump right? Actually, 15% of cases required hospitalization (loss of income, bankrupt families, etc.), millions are permanently disabled (amputated limbs, etc.) and despite Trump’s tweet, we don’t have the best in mortality rate like no one has ever seen; our 5% rate is 13th (CDC.gov, jhu.edu), and the death toll just crossed 131,000 when the first U.S. death from COVID-19 was on Feb 29.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, taking its cues from the President, said we should open the schools on time because parents need to get back to work, except school is not government-funded daycare. Success in the 21st century starts with well-educated citizens, so the schools must reopen when it’s safe, after we have a vaccine.
According to the Florence 1 website, the first day of school is Sept 8, so Superintendent Richard O’Malley, imagine you are in the classroom, surrounded by 23 first graders, where your risk of infection approaches 100%. The incubation period of COVID-19 is two to 14 days, so before the first of October, dozens of teachers will be out sick, some of them for months, some of them forever even if they survive. Assuming you can find substitutes, how many teachers do you need to run a school? 80%? 50%?
And after you’ve read the 10th obituary, you might still agree with the president: The sacrifice is necessary. How many are enough?