Back to school and COVID-19: “We must stop scaring ourselves”

Back to school and COVID 19 We must stop scaring ourselves

  • News
  • Posted on 09/02/2021

    2 min read

    Agathe Thine

    Journalist – Head of Pregnancy, Baby, Family, Alternative Medicine sections

    rentree epidemie wd

    Thursday, September 2 is the start of the new school year in France, more than 12 million students return to school in special circumstances for the second year in a row. Although the number of daily COVID-19 contaminations has been falling since mid-August, the level remains high in the territory. Despite the establishment of a health protocol, some scientists fear a rebound in the epidemic after the start of the school year, in particular because of a greater contagiousness of the Delta variant, the majority in France. Update with Dr Gérald Kierzek.

    Doctissimo. Does the back-to-school period represent a risk of a rebound in the epidemic?

    Gerald Kierzek. “We must stop scaring ourselves. Although there is no such thing as zero risk and we must of course remain vigilant, we now know that the majority of contamination does not take place at school but in the family sphere. We must therefore put into perspective: an effective health protocol – because it has already proven its worth – has been put in place in schools and it is the second start of the school year under COVID, the climate is more peaceful and relaxed and it is so much better !

    Is the Delta variant more contagious and at greater risk of causing severe forms in young people?

    We must first remember an important figure: only 556 children have been hospitalized due to COVID in France. Most are not – or not very – sick, even when they test positive. And then, we have to see the bright side of things, it will achieve collective immunity. So, yes, the Delta variant is more contagious, about as contagious as chickenpox. But we now know that it is not more virulent.

    How to limit the number of contaminations within the school?

    I think it would be good to have the “self-test” reflex in families. It could become a sort of Sunday night ritual: the whole family tests themselves before going back to school on Monday. It is of course necessary to maintain certain barrier gestures such as regular ventilation of the premises, but in my opinion, maintaining the mask outdoors is not necessary. For children, the risks to mental health are greater than those linked to COVID, it should not be forgotten. Children need to see other people’s faces to develop well.