“Most Of Our Homes Are Not Controlled Environments But Schools Are”

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Last night.

On Virgin Media News, Zara King interviewed Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

From the interview:

Zara King: “Minister Donnelly, at a time when the Government is asking people to work from home where possible until the 13th of September, how can you justify sending thousands of children, from thousands of households, back into a classroom setting from next week.”

Stephen Donnelly: “The classroom setting is a controlled environment. So what’s been happening over the last few weeks and indeed months, is the Department of Education has been working very closely with public health experts and now the teachers, the principals to make sure that the infection prevention and control measures that are required are in place.

“So our homes, most of our homes are not controlled environments but schools are. And so they’re fundamentally different and are considered different from the public health doctors.”

King: “But minister, do you appreciate and understand that people are worried, they’re concerned, they don’t feel comfortable or confident about sending their children back to school next week?”

Donnelly: “I think every one of us is worried, we’re dealing with an awful virus, that we’re still learning a lot about. I’ve got three primary school kids. It would be a very unusual situation for us not to be worried. I mean we worry about our children going back to school when there’s no Covid. Of course we worry about our children going back to school. No question about it.

“We manage risk in our lives. Every time we get into a car, you know, driving a car is an inherently risky thing to do. So we have seat belts and we have rules of the road. We have all of these things. Playing sports is an inherently risky thing to do, you know.

“Our children being on trampolines is an inherently risky thing for them to be…”

King: “But are we comparing that, minister, to a global pandemic? To a virus that kills people? It’s not the same as playing sports really, is it?”

Donnelly: “Well driving cars, people die on the roads, lots of people die on the roads…like…”

King: “The risk is much higher though and we’re aware of that are we not when it comes to the virus?”

Donnelly: “Well the risk is not necessarily much higher. This is about recognising there are things we do in life which inherently carry a risk and we got to manage that risk and unfortunately until we have a vaccine, widely distributed for Covid-19, that is the case. That’s what the measures are about. They’re about saying ‘let’s move now, let’s not move until community transmission goes up and up, let’s move now to do what we know will work to reduce community transmission so that the schools can reopen’.”

Via Virgin Media News

Yesterday: “Is There A Magic Number For Schools, Pubs Or Anywhere Else? There Isn’t”

26 thoughts on ““Most Of Our Homes Are Not Controlled Environments But Schools Are”

  1. GiggidyGoo

    My Jeebes. Stephen Donnelly has truly shown himself up as being way out of his depth. I thought Simon Harris had scraped the bottom of the barrel with the ‘other 18 Covids’ comment, but this beats all.

    He’s gone from ‘Don’t be bothering me – here’s a link to a report on my twitter feed – read it yourselves’ to Car Crashes, Trampolines and playing sports as some sort of comparison as to why there’s somehow little danger in schoolchildren returning to school during this pandemic.

    1. Brother Barnabas

      In fairness, Giggidy, that’s not quite what he said. On being asked if kids going back to school entailed risk, he illustrated the fact that everything we – and kids – do in life entails risk.

      1. Brother Barnabas

        (although from what I’ve heard [from someone in the Dept of Ed), the claim that “infection control measures are in place” in schools is nonsense – a few hand sanitizer dispensers at the doors and some signage is the extent of it)

        1. GiggidyGoo

          That wouldn’t surprise me in the least to be honest. Parents should be given the opportunity to view the arrangements prior to allowing their children anywhere near a school.

      2. GiggidyGoo

        Yes, but he made those comparisons to try present a scenario that the possibility of the spread of Covid-19 as a result of returning to school is a game of chance.
        If he wanted to make a comparison to Car Crashes, Trampolines then he should compare the possibilities in a like-for-like situation such as:

        ‘If people go out in their cars knowing that there’s a leak in the brake fluid pipes’ or ‘If children go on trampolines knowing there’s a rip in the floor at the edge’

        Because in the school scenario, there’s a knowledge that children are going into an environment where there will be definate transmission to some children (according to Varadkar).
        Those ‘some’ children can then bring the Covid back home, or to Grandparents who may be minding them while the parents are out working.

        His comparisons were ill-thought out and simplistic.

        1. Brother Barnabas

          yes, agree

          but, also, is he alone in speaking simplistically and condescendingly to the electorate? isnt that standard for an irish politician?

          1. GiggidyGoo

            It is how they do it. Social media isn’t their friend though. Even my better half, who hadn’t any great interest in politics and who used to throw the eyes up whenever I was moaning about politicians, has turned into a real reviewer of politicians performances. And is as bad as I am now :-)

  2. Just Sayin

    If driving is dangerous shouldnt we wear helmets as well as masks when in our cars.

    Pedestrians too if they are within 2 metres of a road.

    I believe my logic makes more sense that current government policy.

  3. SOQ

    I agree with Stephen-

    The risk of a child catching CoVid-19 OR the risk of a child getting seriously ill because of CoVid-19 OR the risk of a child passing CoVid-19 onto an adult are ALL minuscule.

    As the Spanish doctor said in the link I posted earlier- we need a vaccine for the fear virus- and the media are 100% to blame.

    To you honestly think most children have been sitting at home since the schools closed peeping out through the curtains? They have been out and about swapping more bacteria and viruses than you could list in a week- that is how immunity works.

    1. Just Sayin

      The risk of a child catchig covid and spreading it is low and of them dying is miniscule.

      https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/contentassets/c1b78bffbfde4a7899eb0d8ffdb57b09/covid-19-school-aged-children.pdf
      https://www.uvm.edu/uvmnews/news/kids-rarely-transmit-covid-19-say-uvm-docs-top-journal
      https://twitter.com/BBCNewsnight/status/1280924655658950659

      On the other hand, children are very good at catching and spreading influenza and it does kill children.

      Perhaps we should close the schools anyway, either permanently or just during the flu season.

      1. SOQ

        Ok fair point re: low/minuscule.

        But, Jan to May YTD- overall fatalities are 1700 LESS than the flu of 2018- which most of us didn’t even know had happened.

        1. Just Sayin

          Sssh, don’t tell the people the actual numbers, that will just confuse them.

          And if you’re counting unexpected deaths over expected morbidity, then remember that the covid numbers will be boosted by the many people we killed with the lockdown.

          e.g. Strokes and heart attacks that failed to present to hospital in time due to covid panic.
          Patients discharged from hospital too early then suffering relapse.

          Sadly the missed cancer diagnoses will likely be on next years stats and covid may not get the full credit for those.

    2. Johnny Green

      “The risk of a child catchig covid and spreading it is low…”

      new study just out this morn disputes that.

      -Infected children were shown to have a significantly higher level of virus in their airways than hospitalized adults

      -Findings from nose and throat swabs and blood samples carry implications for the reopening of schools, daycare centers and other locations

      -Children can carry a high viral load, meaning they are more contagious, regardless of their susceptibility to -developing COVID-19 infection

      https://www.massgeneral.org/news/press-release/Massachusetts-general-hospital-researchers-show-children-are-silent-spreaders-of-virus-that-causes-covid-19

  4. Dr.Fart

    nothing on meat plants and DP centres. they dont want to admit they messed up in those areas so theyre ignoring it. to the publics detrement. didnt take donnelly long to settle into the FF way of life, which is essentially not being bothered by having blood on their hands.

  5. f_lawless

    “we got to manage that risk and unfortunately until we have a vaccine, widely distributed for Covid-19, that is the case”

    I find it very disturbing that those in authority such as Donnelly, remain wedded to this narrative – ie. that less than 5% of the population have been exposed to – and developed any immunity to – the virus. It’s based on a study that came out in July which concluded that SARS Cov-2 antibodies were present in only 5% of the Irish population.

    But at the same time antibody tests were being carried out in Ireland and different parts of Europe, various scientists were discovering that measuring T-cell immunity is a much more reliable way of determining how widespread immunity to SARS-Cov-2 is among a population. Whereas as antibodies may fade and disappear after a few months post-infection, the T cell immune response is known to last several years if not a lifetime.


    https://www.irishexaminer.com/world/arid-40017881.html
    ‘Rosemary Boyton and Daniel Altmann, professors of immunology at Imperial College London, said: “If, as appears the case, measuring T-cell immunity is a more enduring and reliable marker of adaptive immunity in COVID-19 than antibody, it will be valuable to achieve rollout for health services of commercial T-cell testing kits.” ‘

    Are those in authority so cynical that they’re prepared to ignore this and avoid implementing any kind of representative test to determine how widespread T-Cell immunity is? In the interests of publish health and safety, shouldn’t they aim to carry this out first before committing to the wide distribution of a rushed vaccine that won’t have been subject to the usual safety protocols? I suppose when Donnelly doesn’t even make time to show up at the recent Oireachtas Covid Commitee hearing, it’s an indication of the prevailing attitude.

    Of course if it turned out that T-Cell immunity was widely prevalent, it destroy the credibility of those in authority as it would imply that the blanket lockdown and subsequent measures were neither effective nor necessary.

    It feels like we’re stuck in a toxic state/citizen relationship with the government acting out the role of manipulative sociopath. In order to protect their reputation and dodge responsibility, they will continue to gaslight the public even if that means inflicting prolonged fear and suffering and risking their health unnecessarily.

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