Protect Our Province BC has been granted permission by Dr. Rae Duncan to share this powerful and heartfelt video, in which she talks about Covid and our children.
Dr. Duncan is a Consultant Cardiologist & Long Covid Research Clinician at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the UK. She is also a member of the Long Covid International Research Collaboration (#TeamClots), sits on the Long Covid Expert Advisory Team of the World Health Network, and is a Medical Champion with Long Covid Kids charity.
On December 2, 2022, Dr. Duncan spoke with Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of the World Health Organization Director General on COVID-19. She described what is known so far about the harm COVID-19 is inflicting on the human body. She shared her own family’s experience of schools failing to protect children during the pandemic.
In 2023, three years into this pandemic, there is no reason not to have effective ventilation and air filtration in schools to reduce SARS-CoV-2 aerosol transmission. In British Columbia, Public Health is failing our children. School boards have been complicit by refusing donations of HEPA filtration units or Corsi-Rosenthal boxes. As a result, children and their educators have been (re)infected with COVID-19. Every child deserves to be safe from Covid while in school, just like global leaders were during the recent World Economic Forum in Davos.
We invite you to watch this short nine-minute video in the hope that you will pressure your local school board to protect children's health and their future. BC Public Health is failing our children. We don’t have to.
For accessibility we have provided a spelling and grammar corrected transcript based on the YouTube auto generated transcript.
Dr. Rae Duncan: I want to talk about children today. So, at the beginning of the pandemic before we really knew what this was, we were told initially kids don't get Covid, we don't need to worry. We now know as time's going on that that's not the case. Then we were told kids don’t transmit - we know that that's not the case. Then we're told kids don't get sick with Covid and we now know that they do; and they can get both PIMS-TS (or MIS-C) and Long Covid, and over the course of the pandemic there have been 100,000 children sick with Long Covid in the United Kingdom; some unable to go to school, some wheelchair bound.
But other things that we also know - we also now know that there is evidence that Covid is causing subclinical organ damage in our children. And we know that from a small bio-mechanistic study in Germany looking at the lungs of (this is not just kids with Long Covid) children who've been infected with Covid, had a mild infection and clinically have recovered, [and] have subclinical organ damage in their lungs.
We also know from other studies that there is an increased incidence of diabetes developing that we're seeing in children who've been infected with SARS-CoV-2. We now know that Covid is causing endothelial damage in adults and we suspect from some very early evidence that it may be doing the same in children; we don't have all that data yet and we definitely need to investigate that, but it's something that we absolutely need to study. And we need to study it because we know that endothelial damage is the precursor for the development of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
We also know, as Claire has very clearly said [Dr. Claire Taylor], that repeat Covid infections increase your risk of all of the above. Now the study she was referring to was in adults but Sammie McFarland and her amazing team at Long Covid Kids have done a kids reinfection survey and we’re also seeing that those risks of Long Covid are present in children who get reinfected too.
So, with all that in mind, I wanted to just share something slightly personal that happened to my family in the last three weeks. So, I have four children; my oldest two at high school. None of my kids have Long Covid thankfully - yet, but one of my children has had previous Covid-induced cardiovascular complications. My oldest two tested positive for Covid, again, three weeks ago -- so I rang the school to inform them the kids had Covid and would be off sick, and asked if they could have some work sent home for them to do while they were convalescing, and I received a message on my voicemail the following day from the school attendance officer, telling me that there was no need to keep them off sick while they were still testing positive and infectious, and that after three days I was to send them back to school, whilst infectious. Which is obviously potentially going to spread to other children and this is apparently now public health policy in the United Kingdom for kids in schools.
So I guess my question really is, what I wanted to ask is, what are we currently doing to protect our children from a CDC level 3 biohazard while we try to figure out how bad the organ damage is going to be, and what their future health going into adulthood is going to look like? And the answer I've been able to come up with so far, is “actually very little”.
So, in the United Kingdom we have recently taken away routine vaccination for five to eleven year olds; we've taken away masking in schools; we’ve taken away social distancing (the children are not in classroom groups anymore, they're moving around classrooms); there’s no air filtration systems been put in place; and we now have a health policy that is advocating, and ringing parents telling them, to send their children back to school while still infectious with a level 3 biohazard that can cause organ damage. And I have seen what this virus can do to people - you know I'm researching it, you know I'm looking after people with it - so I try and do everything I can to protect my children, and when they're with me we mask and we have HEPA filters. But then I hand over my kids to the safeguarding of the school system and I expect them to be kept safe at school, and they're not being kept safe; this is their third infection!
Now, one of the things I wanted to say is that our kids have got no choice in all of this. They cannot advocate for themselves and it is our duty to protect them. Our children should not have to choose between their health and their education. So, the question really is, “what should we be doing about this going forward?”
So I’d just like to touch on a big report that's published by our Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Medical Officers from around the UK, including Frank Atherton, just yesterday, and I don't know if Frank's on the call but if he is I just wanted to say "thank you, Frank” because there is a section in this report that I have read and (I was going to try and read it off my phone but I can't because I’m talking to my phone but the gist of it is) under schools, it talks about HEPA filtration and it says, and I quote some of it, “so far there's observed reduction in risk which is modest, there's a widely reported study from Italy suggesting ventilation in schools could reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in schools by over 80 percent.” Now, that paper's not yet been peer- reviewed but there are other papers coming out of Denmark, Belgium, and Holland suggesting air filtration in schools can reduce the risk of Covid 12-fold.
So, I wanted just to talk about that for a second, because HEPA filters and air filtration systems in schools do not negatively impact on a child's social or psychological development, mental health, or well-being, but they have already been shown to reduce Covid outbreaks, and actually air filtration systems in schools might improve both the health and the education of our kids going forward because it may result in better school attendance because of less sickness absence.
So, I guess, one of the other things I just wanted to say is I think we need to remember that we are living through a SARS viral pandemic. We are living history. Every decision that we take or do not take today to mitigate the spread of this virus (which we know if you get re-infected gets substantially worse health outcomes), every decision that we take as individuals, as societies, as national leaders, and as world leaders is going to have a global repercussion for both the health and the economic burden of nations for decades to come. Every decision that we make or do not make now to protect the current and future global health of our citizens is going to be studied in the history books for decades to come. And if we continue to fail to attempt to reduce the reinfection risks from this virus, knowing that they're there, that published data do prove it now, knowing the potential impact this is going to have on global and economic future health, then I fear that we are all going to be on the wrong side of History.
And I hope our children will forgive us. So, I guess what I really want to say is quite simple really, and it's to our world leaders, and I want to say please invest in clean air. Yes, please invest in public health, the public health of your citizens. Please invest in the future health of your children. And please invest in the future economic prosperity of our nations by taking measures now to reduce the current and future health burdens of our citizens from the long-term consequences of repeated SARS-CoV-2 infections. And that's what I wanted to say.
Dr. David Nabarro: Beautiful, thank you very much indeed. I think everybody here is just massively grateful to you for coming on, for speaking what you're feeling. I think we are, many of us, totally convinced by what you're saying, and I think we feel that we need to use whatever avenues we can to make the point that there is a real likelihood of increased risks for children being visited on them as a result of some policies that are around at the moment in the UK.
Dr. Rae Duncan: And the last thing I just wanted to say very briefly, is a couple of the things I talked about the association between Covid and you know, certain organ damage in the epidemiological studies. Just before anybody jumps on me, association doesn't prove causation and we know that, and people may point that out and that's fine, they would be absolutely right, but that's not the point of this. The point is, if we have a clinical suspicion that's high enough, rather than wait two or three years until we've investigated this to the nth degree, the precautionary principle applies, and we have to protect our kids.
 Subclinical means pertaining to an early stage of a disease; having no noticeable clinical symptoms.
 Endothelial cells make up the lining of your blood vessels.