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Reopening Florida Schools Increased COVID-19 Infections

Reopening Florida Schools Increased COVID-19 Infections

January 15, 2021

Medical Research, Press Releases

Reopening Florida schools in September has led to a notable increase in COVID-19 infections, according to data analyzed by BGU researcher Oren Miron.

The findings were just published in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Florida is one of the only states that provides incidence of infections by exact age and county. By comparing schools that reopened in-person classes with those that continued with school closures, researchers discovered that infections had risen by 30% among students between the ages of 14 and 17. Meanwhile, there was a 20% increase in infection rates among schoolchildren between the ages of six and 13.

Oren Miron

“Our analysis has implications for every country trying to determine whether to keep schools open as they battle rising infection rates,” Oren Miron says. “Vaccines will not be given to children initially, so managing infection rates through school closures is of paramount importance.”

Miron tracked data from 10 days prior to school re-openings to 20 days after re-opening. A Ph.D. student in BGU’s Department of Health Systems Management, Miron is a student of Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, who heads the department and the School of Public Health. He is a member of the team of experts advising the Israeli government on its COVID-19 policy.

“The education system plays a critical role in children’s cognitive and emotional development,” says Prof. Davidovitch. “Therefore, the required resources should be invested in the system during the difficult times in which we find ourselves.”

Additional researchers include: Kun-Hsing Yu and Isaac Kohane of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School, and Rachel Wilf-Miron of the School of Public Health at Tel Aviv University.


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