Biden and other leaders claim to be following “the science,” but that obviously doesn’t include the research showing the high costs and low benefits of lockdowns and school closures. Closing schools was a dubious move in the spring, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that it would likely do little to stem the pandemic (and noted that school closings in other countries had failed to make a discernible impact). Today it makes even less sense in light of the accumulated evidence.

For young students, the risk of dying from Covid is lower than the risk of dying from the flu, and researchers have repeatedly found that children do not easily transmit the virus to adults. The clearest evidence comes from Sweden, which did not close elementary schools or junior high schools during the spring Covid wave, and which did not reduce class sizes or encourage students and teachers to wear face masks.

Not a single child died, and there was little effect beyond the schools, as a team of Swedish economists reports after analyzing records of Covid infections and medical treatment for the entire Swedish population. The researchers, from the universities of Stockholm and Uppsala, took advantage of a natural experiment in Sweden by comparing hundreds of thousands of parents at the junior high schools (for students aged 14 to 16), which remained open, against those at the senior high schools, which switched to online instruction for two months in the spring.