Study proposes Montreal schools are major vector of COVID-19 transmission

Montreal schools are major vector of COVID-19 transmission

While the ‘second-wave’ of the pandemic continues to spread and the numbers of cases reported in Quebec breaks records, Preschool and Elementary schools reopened on January 11th 2021, with Secondary schools reopening on January 18th – all with new safety protocols in place. However, many parents are questioning if the measures will be enough to keep their children safe, with some choosing to keep theirs at home. Others feel their children’s education, mental health and the importance of socializing with their friends outweigh the risks. For some parents, especially those who are required to go to work, there is little choice. It is also difficult for parents working from home, trying to balance their office work responsibilities with those of their children’s needs. The decisions having to be made either way are unprecedented.

The Quebec government maintains that schools have not been a major vector of transmission, with Premier Francois Legault calling the reopening of schools ‘a calculated risk’. However, a recent study (conducted by researchers at the Université de Montréal, George Washington University in the US, along with Covid Écoles Quebec) proposes that Montreal schools are the driving factor behind the spread of COVID-19 in the Montreal community. The study measured infections in the city between September and early January and showed that cases first increased among children between the ages of 10 to 19 years old – followed afterwards by increases in adults aged between 30 and 49 years old.

One of researchers in the study, Simona Bignami (from Université de Montréal) believes the results show that cases among children were not the result of community transmission, as government officials have suggested, but rather the other way around. She explained that they examined the number of new cases among children aged 0 to 9 and 10 to18 years old, and compared them with cases among adults aged 30 to 49, the age of most parents. “You really see that the incidents in the kids precedes in time the raise of new cases in the adults by a few weeks,” she said and that they looked at the distribution of COVID-19 cases by neighbourhood in the city from reports published by Montreal health authorities. And what they found was disconcerting.

The fastest increase in the cases in adults followed a large increase in children. “These are the neighbourhoods where there have been more schools reporting cases and more cases in the schools,” she explained. Oliver Drouin, who founded Covid Écoles Quebec and has been tracking cases in schools since last year, participated in the study and said, “When you have a case in school, you may have one, two, three other cases at home that are not counted as school cases, but of course they are counted as home cases. You really see that the incidents in the kids precedes in time the raise of new cases in the adults by a few weeks.” In his press conference last Monday January 11th, Premier Legault repeated that the reopening of schools was ‘a calculated risk’ and said, “I understand there’s a risk bringing back in the schools, but we have to put into balance that there are other disadvantages to keeping them at home.” The questions now: what are the right measures that should be taken by Quebec to help control the spread of the virus? Should schools remain closed? However, at what cost to our children?

By: Bonnie Wurst – info@mtltimes.ca

Other articles from mtltimes.catotimes.caotttimes.ca

Quebec heads to full lockdown

Quebec four week lockdown and mandatory curfew

pre-departure COVID-19 testing

New pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements come into effect for all air travellers flying into Canada

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email


snow storm alert

UPDATE – Snow storm alert – up to 25 cm expected

Snow storm alert – The first significant snowfall in Montreal this season is expected tomorrow Saturday, January 16, 2021. Total snowfall amounts will reach 15 to 25 centimetres by Sunday morning January 17, 2021. Rapidly accumulating snow will make travel difficult. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow. High concentrations of fine

La Poutine Week 2021

La Poutine Week 2021 delivery edition

La Poutine week 2021 is From February 1st until February 7th and delivered by SkiptheDishes to help empower the Canadian restaurant industry, restaurateurs, servers, and foodies – all in celebration of poutine. This year, La Poutine Week is serving YOU – allowing poutine lovers to discover new venues and savour unique poutines, while providing the

COVID-19 testing and screening

COVID-19 testing and screening in Canada

Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has used the latest science and evidence to inform our response. By collaborating with scientists and experts, we are ensuring the provinces and territories have the tools they need to make informed testing and screening decisions. As part of that effort, today, the COVID-19

snow storm alert

How to hire a snow removal company

Wintertime calls for people to start thinking about their home’s outdoor needs: how to remove the snow, how to clean the gutters, how to hire the best Canadian snow removal company near me? In an effort to keep your home safe and warm you may have to call in a professional to come out and

Choosing beautiful kitchen cabinets

Choosing beautiful kitchen cabinets

Many are convinced that kitchen cabinets should be, first of all, ergonomic and functional, and only after that, they should be original and attractive. Do you join this opinion? How do you feel about the fact that a kitchen can be attractive, practical, and functional at the same time? Do you doubt it? Then take

Montreal restaurant files class action suit

Montreal restaurant files class action suit against abusive delivery fees

Montreal restaurant files class action suit in court against crazy delivery fees. Deli Boyz, a popular restaurant located in Cote Saint Luc’s Cavendish Mall, has launched a class action suit in Quebec’s Superior Court against several food delivery service companies, including UberEats, Skip and Door Dash, for the fees they are charging them during the

Mtltimes Subscription

The latest on what’s moving Montreal and the world – delivered straight to your inbox