“We sat at our baby’s bedside for three months, not sure whether he was going to come home. It is not worth the risk. There are just too many unknowns.”
Although provincial officials pointed to research that children don’t get as sick as adults from COVID-19 and are less likely to spread it, Vautour-Shales said there is a lot about the virus that is not known.
“We don’t know. It is all a guessing game.”
University of Ottawa epidemiologist Raywat Deonandan said he is not convinced that the rate of transmission of COVID-19 is actually lower in children than adults, as some studies have concluded.
He points out that children are more likely to be asymptomatic and therefore less likely to be tested because they don’t have symptoms. For that reason, it has been difficult to know accurately when children are spreading COVID-19. He also points out that a lot of the studies coming to that conclusion were done when schools were closed.
Deonandan said the province should have spent money to reduce class sizes among younger students and improve physical distancing. That, he said, is key to preventing the spread of infection, according to modeling.
Deonandan also said he believes younger children should be encouraged to wear masks, as another protective measure.
“I think we underestimate their ability to do these things.”