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Shut Schools To Limit Number Of Swine Flu Deaths, Ministers Told

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/2...hools-swine-flu

Ministers were urged tonight to rethink their policy of keeping schools open through the swine flu pandemic after research showed that a shutdown would curb the spread of infection and limit the number of deaths.

As Andy Burnham, the health secretary, announced that a flu helpline to take the pressure off GPs' surgeries would go live this week, two infectious disease experts said school closures should be considered to reduce the number of cases and buy time until a vaccine is available.

Schools across Britain have now broken up for summer holidays, and experts hope this will help to slow the spread of the virus. But there are fears that when classes resume in the autumn the number of cases will increase rapidly.

School closures would cause serious difficulties for working parents, lead to a 1% loss in GDP through absenteeism and see as many as 30% of NHS staff having to take time off just when they are needed to treat growing numbers of patients.

In a study published in the today Lancet , Government adviser Professor Neil Ferguson and Dr Simon Cauchemez, both of the department of infectious disease epidemiology, Imperial College London, said "prolonged" closures could reduce the scale of the outbreak by 13-17% and at the pandemic's peak shutting schools could bring down the number of cases by 38-45%.

"It is therefore hoped that closure of schools during the pandemic might break the chains of transmission, with the following potential benefits: reducing the total number of cases; slowing the epidemic to give more time for vaccine production; and reducing the incidence of cases at the peak of the epidemic, limiting both the stress on healthcare systems and peak absenteeism in the general population, and thus increasing community-wide resilience," the researchers said.

Such a move would also raise the question of what should be done with millions of schoolchildren during a prolonged shutdown, they added. The authors said that governments in Europe and North America might have to take such a step after they studied the impact of school closures during flu epidemics in other countries stretching back to 1918.

They say that study of the 1918 flu outbreak in America and Australia indicates that shutting schools, in tandem with closing churches and improved hygiene, could have reduced the death toll by between 10% and 30%, and as much as 50% in some cities at the height of the outbreak.

Surely just eliminating children at this time would be better.

Just what on earth do they think all these kids will do, that they won't congregate in parks etc....

I also predict that if this happens petty crime will increase.

Perhaps we should wrap ourselves all in cotton wool?

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Good point - one month's worth saving of school dinners, heating, power (not sure what they would do about salaries for teachers, dinner ladies, caretakers etc - presume they still have to pay them). Plus lollipop ladies, school buses, consumables such as paper, pens etc)... It's got to add up across the whole country

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Just what on earth do they think all these kids will do, that they won't congregate in parks etc....

Granddad, what is a park?

Can I go on my xbox now, I've got to meet my friends on Facebook later.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/2...hools-swine-flu

Surely just eliminating children at this time would be better.

Just what on earth do they think all these kids will do, that they won't congregate in parks etc....

I also predict that if this happens petty crime will increase.

Perhaps we should wrap ourselves all in cotton wool?

This is a good step in the right direction - schools are a breeding ground for infections and since the UK only has about 350 pediatric beds swine flu spreading through schools would be very distructive. Get the home work home and get the mums teaching - send the kids back to school a few months later

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Granddad, what is a park?

Can I go on my xbox now, I've got to meet my friends on Facebook later.

Sorry son. The NSPCC has banned xbox as too violent, and Facebook is not safe due to paedos posing as teenage girls. Get back in the attic and eat your turkey twizzlers NOW.

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Yes we can talk about shutting schools but what about the london underground or would that cost to much tax revenue.

Hospitals are asking for security gards on the door because they know they will be inundated with people needing help and these people won't be happy if they are turned away.

looks like we are being forced to pay for a system that is broken and if half the money we paid made it to front line services then we would not have this problom.

must not speed where then road is clear it might kill someone but it's ok if we kill a million people to save a bit of cash.

make no mistakes the worlds population needs a cull be it nature fighting back or quite possibly man-made and i suspect we wil all see it in our lifetimes.

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Aren't the little darlings about to takes six weeks off anyway?

No - they are going to take 12 weeks off (MPs that is). So no proper scrutiny of this government until mid October - despite the recession, swine flu etc.

Still Andy Burnham is in charge - and I have total confidence in him. :lol:

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No - they are going to take 12 weeks off (MPs that is). So no proper scrutiny of this government until mid October - despite the recession, swine flu etc.

Still Andy Burnham is in charge - and I have total confidence in him. :lol:

I noticed that MI5 dropped the terrorist threat down a notch on account of the government being out of action for the summer. Can't terrorise us if they aren't here. I suppose it'll be back up again when they get back.

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Schools in the USA have been swirtching to a four-day week to save money for at least the last 12 months - this was big news when I was last there with the savings on Teachers wages alone amounting to over 20% - can`t see the Teaching Unions here been impressed with any pay cuts though ...

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Guest Steve Cook
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/2...hools-swine-flu

Surely just eliminating children at this time would be better.

Just what on earth do they think all these kids will do, that they won't congregate in parks etc....

I also predict that if this happens petty crime will increase.

Perhaps we should wrap ourselves all in cotton wool?

he he he

I have just signed up for a new full time contract as a teacher at a local school. If they close down in September for a few weeks I still get paid.

OK, not very public spirited I know.... ;)

I'm deeply ashamed.....

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Guest Steve Cook
Did someone say Ed Balls has got swine flu?

Bet he went to a swine-flu party for the Kensington set

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he he he

I have just signed up for a new full time contract as a teacher at a local school. If they close down in September for a few weeks I still get paid.

OK, not very public spirited I know.... ;)

I'm deeply ashamed.....

Cmon admit it, you still get that fuzzy feeling when you arrive at school to discover the pipes are frozen and get sent home :lol:

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Guest Steve Cook
Cmon admit it, you still get that fuzzy feeling when you arrive at school to discover the pipes are frozen and get sent home :lol:

In some of the schools I have worked, I have positively prayed for a cold snap.... :lol:

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No - they are going to take 12 weeks off (MPs that is). So no proper scrutiny of this government until mid October - despite the recession, swine flu etc.

Still Andy Burnham is in charge - and I have total confidence in him. :lol:

Yes he's 39 years old and look at his pre-parliamentary CV (courtesy of Wikipedia)...

He claims to have joined the Labour Party at the age of 14 in 1984 during the miners' strike, and was a researcher to Tessa Jowell MP from 1994 until after the 1997 General Election. He joined the Transport and General Workers Union in 1995. After the 1997 election he was briefly a parliamentary officer for the NHS Confederation from August until December 1997, before taking up the post as an administrator with the Football Task Force for a year.[2] In 1998, he became a special adviser to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Chris Smith, where he remained until his election to parliament. He joined the UNISON trade union in 2000.

Clearly the most qualified person to be running the English health system during a flu epidemic.

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Yes he's 39 years old and look at his pre-parliamentary CV (courtesy of Wikipedia)...

He claims to have joined the Labour Party at the age of 14 in 1984 during the miners' strike, and was a researcher to Tessa Jowell MP from 1994 until after the 1997 General Election. He joined the Transport and General Workers Union in 1995. After the 1997 election he was briefly a parliamentary officer for the NHS Confederation from August until December 1997, before taking up the post as an administrator with the Football Task Force for a year.[2] In 1998, he became a special adviser to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Chris Smith, where he remained until his election to parliament. He joined the UNISON trade union in 2000.

Clearly the most qualified person to be running the English health system during a flu epidemic.

It's good that his roots are in the miner's strike. He obviously cared deeply about the down trodden working classes. Did he get divorced in the end or did the fees office sign off his expenses claims?

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Guest absolutezero
Cmon admit it, you still get that fuzzy feeling when you arrive at school to discover the pipes are frozen and get sent home :lol:

You really do.

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Aren't the little darlings about to takes six weeks off anyway?

Exactly - bit late all this - schools in my area have all been infected and there told to carry on going to school - absolutle bloody madness, goes to show just how really serious this threat is ----more keep the people scared, keep them controlled bollux

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This is financial suicide for lots of families. School isn't seen as school anymore by most working / middleclass families, it is free state provided childcare so one partner can at least work from 9am to 3pm so as to be able to pay the mortgage and eagt and have two cars and a few luxuries.

Do these MP's not realise the huge cost to families that the summer, easter and christmas holidays cause familes!!!

M

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This is financial suicide for lots of families. School isn't seen as school anymore by most working / middleclass families, it is free state provided childcare so one partner can at least work from 9am to 3pm so as to be able to pay the mortgage and eagt and have two cars and a few luxuries.

Do these MP's not realise the huge cost to families that the summer, easter and christmas holidays cause familes!!!

Bigger picture, though: schools are notorious for spreading nasties like viruses, because the kids go to school, get ill and then take the virus home to their parents, who have off work (thereby affecting the economy). Also, if the virus is as contagious as it appears, then many teachers will succuumb, adding pressure to those teachers who manage to avoid getting swine flu.

I think schools should be shut until every person under the age of 16 has been vaccinated.

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Guest anorthosite
OK, not very public spirited I know.... ;)

I'm deeply ashamed.....

Don't be. I've just gone public sector too, and I'm looking forward to my two weeks off next time I cough ;)

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