Children have proven to be highly vulnerable to the Delta strain of coronavirus, which is of concern to parents and doctors. Before the start of the school year, heated discussions erupted in the United States about wearing masks in schools.
Amid an increase in the number of infected children and the outbreak of a pandemic in Florida, many educational institutions have expressed their desire to violate the governor’s ban on the use of masks in schools. On Friday, parents of children with disabilities protested against the governor’s order:
“Parents are in a desperate situation: they have to choose between the health of their children, their life and their return to school.”
It is known that most children infected with the coronavirus carry it asymptomatically or mildly. But with the advent of the particularly contagious Delta mutation, the situation has changed. In the last week of July alone, 72,000 cases of juvenile illness were reported in the United States, five times more than a month ago. The data was provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which clarifies that 20,000 of this number are registered in Florida, and the number of children hospitalized there was 143. In an interview with AFP, the head of the Maami Children’s Hospital, Marcos Mestre, said:
“We have undoubtedly seen an increase in cases here in emergencies and in other parts of the hospital over the past two or three weeks.”
The doctor noted that only 1% of infected children need hospitalization, and minors with diabetes and obesity are at risk. Despite the increased infectivity of the Delta variant, there is no officially confirmed data that this strain causes a more severe course of covid, both in children and adults. However, more research is needed to confirm or disprove this possibility, said Rossell Walensky of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the meantime, scientists are unanimous in the opinion that children are less safe in regions where the level of vaccination of adults is lower. As, for example, in the northwestern United States – there are more vaccinated adults and significantly lower infection rates in children and adolescents.
Due to the fact that the number of deaths is now higher than during last year’s outbreak, the CDC recommends the use of masks by teachers, students and school staff. But Republican Gov. Ron DeSadis of Florida has already threatened to cut funding for non-compliant schools that will resume wearing masks. Despite this, many of them are still going to ignore the governor’s order.
Pediatric infectious disease specialist Mobin Rator advocates for minimizing the risk of infection in children, including for wearing masks:
“Children get sick, go to the hospital, and some die from COVID-19. Like adults, children need to be vaccinated. ”
The Pfizer vaccine was licensed in the United States in May for use in the 12+ age group. However, for young children, clinical trials have not yet been completed.