Stop making influenza comparisons for kids and Covid.


To see the full scope of coronavirus in regards to kids and seasonal influenza comparisons it is probably best to show what an unmitigated spread would mean. Say the attack rate of coronavirus in kids is ~80%. If anything a lower bound attack rate considering overshoot and Delta's transmissibility. About ~0.8% of kids get hospitalized for Covid if infected according to CDC estimates. Total pediatric hospitalizations with that uniform attack rate would mean close to ~500k hospitalizations. Or about 10x a typical seasonal influenza year estimates.

Stop making influenza comparisons for kids and Covid, especially considering we only had 1 pediatric Flu death and over 400 pediatric Covid deaths this pandemic. It is really atrocious reasoning and math.

I think for some it is clearly dishonesty in pursuit of an agenda (say schools), but I think for others it is just lazy thinking. It doesn't help when some of the news media doesn't compare apples to apples on these things. And heck sometimes it can be hard to not realize you aren't doing apples to apples if you are unaware of the caveats, limitations, and underpinnings of the data being used.

General vaccine confidence for kids outside of this virus is critical and so any sort of tail risk on safety would not just affect this vaccine situation. And 12+ are eligible now and where a lot of the virus risk is for kids. Elementary school kids are the lowest risk for the virus and where we start to get into seasonal influenza territory. The cost benefit analysis for that age group might not be clean cut without the data. But in general I think it probably is a case of excessive caution at this point.

We aren't mandating masks and other mitigation for in-person school in many places. I think with adult staff vaccinated as they generally are and with mitigation in-person elementary school isn't inherently reckless. But that's of course not what is happening in many jurisdictions.

But if 12-17 kids aren't getting vaccinated despite being eligible we run into issues with the other side of this argument at the school level. Even if we rushed a EUA for under 12s, if kids aren't taking it, the matter is largely still the same. Of course individual kids that got it would be protected but school transmission would still be an issue. It really comes down to our inability to accept NPIs for kids at this stage of the pandemic.

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