Closing schools across most of the U.S. in March, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, likely reduced infections by 1 million and saved more than 40,000 people from dying due to the virus, according to a new study from researchers at Cincinnati Children’s, the University of Cincinnati and Pediatric Research in Inpatient Settings Network in Ohio. The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, come amid a worldwide debate on whether, when and how to reopen schools, including for some 56 million American students, kindergarten through high school.
The study’s authors include Katherine Auger, MD, attending physician in the Division of Hospital Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s and UC associate professor of pediatrics, and Samir Shah, MD, director of the division of hospital medicine at Cincinnati Children’s and UC professor of pediatrics. The study reviewed a period in schools before precautions such as smaller classes and mask usage were widely recommended. “At the time, there wasn’t any masking in schools, there wasn’t physical distancing, there wasn’t an increase in hygiene and that sort of thing,” Auger told the New York Times. “The findings of our studies took place before any of those measures were in.”
Several other media have also picked up the story including:
Featured image of a classroom of children courtesy of Unsplash.