'Very sick kids': Delta threat looms over US school reopenings


By NS Desk 07-Aug-2021

<br>Doctors are raising the alarm. "I will say what I'm hearing from my pediatrician colleagues and particularly in areas where infection rates are high is that they are seeing very sick kids," Lee Savio Beers, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in public comments Friday.

The new infections among children were recorded in seven days leading up to July 29, up from 39,000 the week prior, according to a study out from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The troubling data are coming in as US schools are readying to open their doors for the Fall term. There's no Covid-19 vaccine yet for kids below 12 years, mask mandates are a patchwork of 50 states' political calculus, and the Delta variant is surging among the unvaccinated.

The US is now averaging over 109,000 new daily cases. That's the highest it's been since February this year. These numbers are coming on top of robust vaccination numbers: At least 70 per cent of those above 18 have got at least one dose; 60 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated. But nothing has changed for the under-12 cohort. There's no shot for them yet. Pfizer's senior vice president of vaccine development said in a video interview today that the company is likely to file for an emergency use authorization for the under-12s only by October.

Until then, masks are the only armour for students under 12 years. Public policy remains complicated. California, Louisiana, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington state either plan to or have already announced that they would require universal masking on campus for students and teachers regardless of vaccination status. But there are nearly a dozen states that have gone in the other extreme direction and banned masks requirements in public schools.

"What are the harmful effects of putting a kindergartener in a mask for seven hours? Have they talked about the emotional, the academic, the physiological? Why isn't CDC studying that?" asks Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, clashing routinely with White House guidance.

For a full year ending January 2021, CDC data showed children 15 and under had the lowest infection rates. That has changed now. School-age children between the ages of 5-11 and 12-15 have infection rates higher than adults 50 and older.

"We failed our kids all along. We're failing our kids all over again," emergency physician Leana Wen told Deadline White House.


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