Pupils are more likely to be hit by LIGHTNING than die of coronavirus new figures show as calls to reopen schools grow

SCHOOL children under the age of 15 are more likely to be hit by lightning than die of Covid-19 as calls grow to get pupils back into classrooms as quickly as possible.

It comes as the government yesterday abandoned plans to fully reopen primary schools before the summer holidays.

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Plans to get kids back into classrooms in September were also thrown into further doubt after Downing Street said secondary schools were expected to open to "more pupils", rather than all pupils, in the autumn.

Amid the ongoing row amid about classroom safety, analysis by Cambridge University, using latest Office for National Statistics data, shows the risk to children from the virus is extremely low.

Just two children aged five to 14 have died from Covid-19 in England and Wales, which is equivalent to one in every 3.58million in that age group.

But this jumps to one in 3,478 for adults aged 45 to 64 and one in 55 for those 90-plus.

Children have more chance of being hit by lightning than dying of Covid-19.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, between 30 and 60 people are struck by lightning each year in Britain, a population risk of between one in 2.21 million and one in 1.1 million annually.

An expert has suggested parents could let their kids play with friends who have coronavirus so they catch it when they are young and at low risk of death.

Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter revealed he was sent to mix with sick pals as a child in the hope he would be infected with measles, mumps and chickenpox.

Now the Cambridge University statistician said parents may consider doing the same for Covid-19 if scientists are unable to develop a vaccine.

A recent review by Public Health England identified age as the biggest risk factor for coronavirus deaths.

Infected people aged 80 or older were 70 times more likely to die than those under 40, the report said.

Sir David, 66, said: "I remember this pre-vaccination era, as a kid I was sent around to go and play with friends, who had measles, mumps, chickenpox… the lot.

"I'm not suggesting this is the public health solution but if no vaccine comes along, you might think that way.

So-called "pox parties" were popular in the pre-vaccine era when parents believed a disease was less severe in childhood or wanted to "get it over with".

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health says kids should not be deliberately exposed to infections.  

Government guidelines say children infected with coronavirus should be isolated with their family at home.

The research comes after the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson scrapped plans for all primary pupils in England to attend classes before the summer break.

Lord Blunkett, who served as Education secretary in Tony Blair's government, accused the Government of a "triumph of fear over ambition" as he called for a "national effort to give all children a face to face experience before the end of July".

He added: "I can only conclude that the Government is losing the plot."

Former Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw said scrapped plans for reopening schools "smacks of poor organisation".

He said the government "needs to get its act together, learn from the mistakes and make sure there is proper planning for September."

Justine Greening, Education secretary from 2016 to 2018, said it was "untenable to still have no Government plan to get schools reopened".

The Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said it was "ridiculous" schools were opening after other parts of the economy, such as theme parks from July 4, adding: "Children are in danger of being forgotten in the lifting of lockdown."

Meanwhile Professor Carl Heneghan, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, said it may be worth considering a Swedish model where those at risk are sheltered and younger people are allowed to contract the virus to build herd immunity.

So far in the UK, 40,883 have died from coronavirus after 286 further deaths were recorded yesterday.


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