Last month the organisation ‘Independent SAGE’ claimed “recent UK and international data suggests that children are in fact as likely as adults to become infected and carry the virus”. The independent fact checking charity Full Fact has concluded that it hasn’t seen reliable evidence to back up that claim.
In a blog published on Tuesday, 9 June, Full Fact said: “We haven’t seen reliable evidence that backs up this claim. Reviews of the literature to date suggest that children are less likely to become infected and carry the virus.”
‘Independent SAGE’ had used its claims to suggest that schools should not be opening more widely from 1 June, despite the Government′s plans being based on the best scientific and medical advice.
In its analysis of the claims, Full Fact said it is unclear what evidence the organisation is referring to. Furthermore the real Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advising the Government has a high degree of confidence that the severity of the disease in children is lower than in adults and a moderately high degree of confidence that children aged up to 11 are less susceptible to it.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, 9 June, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“We all know how important it is for children and young people to be in education and childcare and it is vital that we get them back there as soon as the scientific advice indicates that we can.
“I am very pleased that last week, we were able to take the first, cautious, step towards that. As the Prime Minister confirmed on 28 May, the government’s five tests are being met and we are beginning to ease the lockdown restrictions across England.
“Based on all the evidence, this means that nurseries and other early years providers, including childminders, have been able to welcome back children of all ages. Pupils in Reception, year 1 and year 6, have been returning in smaller class sizes, alongside the children of critical workers and vulnerable children of all ages, who continue to be able to attend.”