Take precautions but say no to fear
As universities across the country scrap reopening plans, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville have not. I tip my hat to them.
According to Kentucky Health and Family Services, there hasn’t been a single COVID-19 related death in those aged 20 to 29, despite being the age group with the largest number of cases.
While the virus can be deadly to some, most people recover from COVID-19. In the United States, the death rate is less than half a percent. According to CDC data, 94 percent of COVID-19 deaths occurred among people with other chronic medical problems, which we knew were risk factors for a bad outcome. Here in Kentucky, nearly 75 percent of those who died from the virus were over the age of 70.
While taking proper precautions is necessary, fear is not. For most college students COVID-19 is no more deadly than many other respiratory viruses. There is no need to worry, universities have detailed reopening plans meant to keep students and faculty safe.
Similarly, we can feel much more comfortable sending our children back to in-person school in Kentucky, many districts have made plans to start back in person this month. As a parent of two children attending public school, I’ve heard some troubling stories of children struggling with virtual “learning” and stories from friends and patients about worsening and emerging mental health issues among our youth.
We have reached the tipping point where, at least among our kids and young adults, the negative consequences of “safe at home” efforts are worse than potential consequences of COVID-19.
Molly Rutherford MD, MPH