Confinement worse than infection risk for kids: Hampstead Mayor

Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg

Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg, while acknowledging “my opinion is no better than yours,” offered his take last week on how different age groups should conduct themselves at this point in the COVID-19 crisis.

“It depends on your age and underlying medical conditions,” he wrote on the town’s website, “For young kids — 12 and under — with no health issues, I believe the negatives of confinement are much worse than letting them be kids and maybe get infected. It is very unlikely to lead to anything serious.

“For those 13-30 with no medical conditions, there is little risk, but as good citizens, and for the sake of others who may be at risk, it is not so hard to wear a mask when in closed public spaces, to practice good hygiene practices and to not be on top of others.”

Regarding seniors, they “must take it upon themselves to be extra cautious. The risk is less now that it was a few weeks ago and it should be less still in another month. So be patient and protect yourselves. Outside is very safe, but avoid crowded, enclosed indoor spaces.”

Steinberg added his own perspective on the apparent downturn in cases.

“The experts say you need 50%- 70% of the population to be infected in order to get ‘herd immunity,’ but based on confirmed cases in Canada, there are about 100,000 cases out of a population of close to 38,000,000. That is well under 1/2 a percent. So why has the curve come down?

“First, very few people have been tested and almost no one who is asymptomatic. Therefore, confirmed cases is not a good measure. Deaths is a better measure because we know that about .5% of the population will die from Covid-19. About 8,000 people have died to date. That would mean that about two weeks ago there were 1.6 million cases (200 X 8,000). Since deaths trail cases by about two-three weeks and since the cases are still occurring, we can round up and say we expect we will have two million cases in Canada by the time this is over. But that number is still only five percent of the population. So what is going on?”

Steinberg wrote that a doctor friend of his told him that “there are many coronaviruses and many people may have antibodies to others that have been around for a long time and there may be cross immunity, so not everyone is susceptible to getting COVID-19.

“There are some studies that support that hypothesis. More research is needed, including random testing, for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies. I can think of more explanations but I will conclude that something is going on and it will take more research to get a good understanding of exactly what.”

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