There was no measurable difference in coronavirus cases among children in Sweden, where schools were left open, compared with neighboring Finland, where schools were shut, study shows
The study compares two countries that share similar societal models, including access to universal health care, but that adopted very different strategies to tackle Covid-19. Sweden avoided a proper lockdown, while Finland imposed tougher social distancing.
Indicative data show there is no difference in the overall incidence of the laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases in children aged 1 to 19 years in the two countries; contact tracings in primary schools in Finland found hardly any evidence of children infecting others, according to the working paper by the Public Health Agency of Sweden and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. What’s more, there’s no increased risk for teachers, according to a Swedish comparison of cases among daycare and primary school staff, compared with risk levels in other professions.
It’s not the first time researchers have raised questions about the merits of shutting schools during the pandemic. A French study last month found that school children don’t appear to transmit Covid-19 to peers or teachers. That investigation established that kids seemed to show fewer symptoms than adults, and to be less contagious. But the authors also said more research was needed.