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K: Kick-off and kids in the UK

Kids are pretty much immune from coronavirus and do not seem to transmit it to others.

So far, only 1.6% of confirmed Covid-19 cases in England have been among the under 20s and 0.7% of cases in the under 10s. Very similar levels of infections in children have also been reported in other countries.

Of 33,614 deaths of people with Covid-19 in England and Wales, as of 01 May, only two were in people aged between 1 and 14. 

Children are less prone to catching the virus. There is also little, or no evidence, that they are transmitters of the virus. They are, without reasonable doubt, extremely safe at school.

But they aren’t there. Children of key workers and the underprivileged have been allowed to attend and about half of pupils in years 1 and 6 have returned. Of the rest, who are being home-schooled, a fifth of have done little or no work at home, with four in ten having no regular contact with teachers.

Constituents are asking their MPs where the Nightingale-style plans for schools are. Why aren’t empty museums, galleries or shops being repurposed? Does following the science mean that no creative solutions can be used? People have had plenty of time to come up with solutions.

The fact that the majority of children are still at home and that when they will return to education is currently unknown, is a scandal. 

The UK’s children have been as badly let down as the elderly in care homes were, their futures sacrificed on the altar of protecting the NHS at all costs.

We all laughed when former footballer, Robbie Savage, turned up at a daily briefing to ask a question of a government minister, but now professional footballers are actually dictating government policy.

Yesterday, it was announced that because of England footballer, Marcus Rashford’s campaign, struggling families will continue to receive free school meal vouchers during the potentially endless holidays. Rashford had started a charity that has raised c. £20 million to feed 400,000 children and now wants to stop a further 1.3m British children going hungry this summer. 

Rashford said: “I don’t claim to have the education of an MP in parliament, but I do have a social education.”

The government had said that ‘hard choices’ needed to be made and consequently, free lunches for needy pupils during the summer holidays would be cancelled. During his weekly outing, yesterday, Boris Johnson lied that he had been unaware of Rashford’s highly publicised campaign until that morning, but was now willing to perform a U-turn and reinstate £120 million worth of lunches. 

Quite a climb down from a government in the face of opposition from a 22-year-old, who was brought up by a single mother, notable because Johnson once wrote that single mothers, “were producing a generation of “ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate children”.

And he should know.

The beautiful game returns

Today, the Premier League returns to our screens and on Saturday, the BBC will be televising their first ever premiership match, Bournemouth against Crystal Palace. 92 live games in six weeks.

Football restarted in Germany a month ago (16th May) and was shown in the UK to almost universal apathy. 

The Premier League, however, will provide a bit of well-needed escapism and once the pubs reopen, much of the UK will consider lockdown over and normal service can be resumed.

The UK has the world’s third highest death toll, the OECD predicts we’ll have the developed world’s worst-hit economy and we are on course for one of the slowest, most painful exits from lockdown, but our government continues to insist we are ‘world-beating’.

They have got to hope the return of football will turn everyone’s attention away from their disastrous handling of the pandemic and that a 22-year-old returns to being of more interest as a footballer than a government policy advisor. 

 

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