Zero Covid Tomás Ryan suggests schools should be closed

ISAG member Tomás Ryan took to the national airwaves this week to suggest that, at the current rate, Irish schools should be closed.

The Trinity College neuroscientist made the remarks on Wednesday while speaking on Virgin Media’s The Tonight Show, and unveiled ISAG’s latest fatwa target: the concept of personal responsibility itself.

“Right now what we’re concerned with is preventing a fourth lockdown, and protecting children,” he said.

“Now, be very careful when you hear politicians talk about personal responsibility. We don’t hear about personal responsibility when there’s a crime wave. You can’t walk down a certain street because you’ll be assaulted, and that’s your responsibility? No, I don’t think so.”

Not to get dragged into an unrelated issue, but what a weird analogy. Of course there is a degree of personal responsibility when it comes to your physical safety from crime.

If a person decides to walk down a dodgy alleyway in a fur coat with €50 notes falling out of their pocket, or leaves their new car in town with the door open and the key in the ignition, obviously they don’t deserve to be attacked or robbed – nobody does. But we’d be lying if we said that person shouldn’t have a degree of cop on.

You’re responsible for your own safety and the onus is on you to not take stupid risks. This is common sense.

The exact same should apply for covid. It’s not the job of the state to mammy you. If you’re deathly afraid of covid, feel free to stay at home in a HazMat suit bathing in dettol and have everything ordered to your front door until the end of time. That’s your prerogative. It doesn’t justify massive disruption to our entire civilization through state-imposed restrictions.

By Tomás’ reasoning, we should have a curfew at night and impose martial law on the country, because otherwise people might get attacked by criminals after dark. We can’t allow them to make their own decision for their safety – the state has to intervene to ensure nobody anywhere is ever unsafe.

That’s his prescription for schools, after all – close them all down in case somebody, somewhere gets sick, personal agency be damned.

Note as well the pro-lockdown anti-lockdown doublespeak – ‘We need to prevent a fourth lockdown by locking down schools.’

When people think of what makes lockdown so horrendous, they think of things like the disruption to their children’s school life – and yet that’s what’s being proposed, supposedly to prevent said lockdown.

We’re basically being told “We better lock down a large part of the country today so we don’t have to lock down the country tomorrow.” It’s the medical equivalent of never washing your hands because they’ll just get dirty again tomorrow. It’s absurd.

At this point the interviewer asked Ryan point blank if he was calling to “keep schools closed.”

“If things spin out of control, the government will be forced to do that,” he said. 

“I really hope schools will not have to close, but if we manage them as they’re currently doing, we will find ourselves in. By the end of October, almost every classroom in Ireland will be vulnerable to having an active covid spreader based on NPHET’s modelling. We need to prevent that from happening.”

First of all, most people who have been paying attention wouldn’t give you tuppence for NPHET’s modelling.

According to the European Centre for Disease Control:

“…school outbreaks have not been a prominent feature in the COVID-19 pandemic. Transmission in the school setting appears to be affected by the levels of community transmission. Where epidemiological investigation has occurred, transmission in schools has accounted for a minority of all COVID-19 cases in a given country…No evidence has been found to suggest that children or educational settings are the primary drivers of SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission.”

Notably, the ECDC does not recommend masks for children under 12 – something which Ryan appears to advocate for.

Moreover, a newly-released study from the British Medical Journal found that teachers are not at elevated risk from Covid-19. As reported in the Irish Times:

“[the study] found neither school staff nor their household members were at any increased risk of severe outcomes at any time during the 2020-2021 academic year.”

The accuracy of NPHET’s modelling aside – a group who have been so wrong throughout the pandemic that they couldn’t predict the days of the week in sequential order – so what if the virus spreads? Case numbers are irrelevant; deaths are what matters.

The death in children from Covid-19 is “incredibly rare,” as reported in Nature magazine.

In an analysis done in the UK, it was found that, of the absolutely tiny proportion of those under 18 who did tragically pass away from covid, the vast majority had serious underlying respiratory conditions or were severely overweight.

Does this mean that their lives don’t matter, or can be discounted? Absolutely not, of course not. But it is to say that closing down our entire school system when only a tiny, miniscule fraction of students are actually at risk is daft.

If someone is particularly at risk, specific accommodation can be made for them. We don’t need to derail all of education for a vanishingly small minority.

To put this in perspective, more children in Britain died of drowning in 2018 than died of Covid in 2020 according to the UK’s Water Incident Database (WAID) – 25 died of Covid, while 31 died in drowning incidents. In other words, there’s a much stronger case to be made for banning children from beaches and pools than there is for classrooms. Yet nobody is proposing the former.

We simply cannot afford to do what Ryan is proposing. Ireland had the longest school closures of any country in the EU according to UNESCO. The full damage that will be done to our children’s psychological development and education likely won’t be known for years.

Why these Zero Covid extremists from discredited bodies like ISAG are still being trotted out by the media like clockwork is simply baffling. If I wanted apocalyptic fiction, I’d watch the movie Armageddon and at least get some entertainment value out of it.

 

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