The recent Covid-19 outbreak at a sleep away camp in Georgia is not necessarily an example of what might happen when schools open, Dr. George Rutherford, principal investigator of the state of California’s contract tracing program, said Wednesday.
“I don’t think this is particularly instructive in terms of what might happen in schools, unless we have residential boarding schools that use large barracks like cabins. But in terms of day students in schools, I don’t think that this is particularly instructive,” Rutherford said during a news briefing at the University of California, San Francisco.
Some background: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on the outbreak as a cautionary tale about what might happen at schools if they open for in-person learning. More than 40% of campers and staff at the camp became infected with coronavirus.
Both Rutherford and the CDC report pointed out that the children were not wearing masks, there was regular singing and cheering and that windows and doors were closed in the cabins. These closed windows and doors probably increased recirculated air and the risk factors, according to Rutherford.
“We’ve always known that children could get infected. We’ve always known that children could infect other people, just not at the same rates,” Rutherford said. “And if you put them into an intensive situation like this, these are the kinds of results you can expect.”
Rutherford said that bars and churches were places that worried him when it comes to transmission of Covid-19.
“If you have places with the windows all shut, people singing, it’s like Georgia summer camp, okay, it’s not a great idea,” he said. “If you’re going to do that stuff, they have to be outside and people have to be socially distant.”