Amid mounting fears that children are now victims and vectors of the latest surge in Covid-19 variants, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins noted Sunday that an increasing number of children are becoming ill. In the USA.
His comments also came as one of America’s largest teacher unions appeared to change its position on mandatory teacher vaccinations.
With about 90 million adult Americans remaining unvaccinated and vaccinations unauthorized for 12 years or less, Collins said. ABC News this week with George Stephanopoulos that “the largest number of children so far in the entire pandemic right now are in the hospital, 1,450 children in the Covid-19 hospital.”
Collins acknowledged that the data on pediatric infections were incomplete, but said he was “listening to pediatricians who are concerned that, this time, the children who are in the hospital are more numerous and more seriously ill.”
Collins’ comments came as new cases of Covid-19 in the US have rebounded to more than 100,000 per day on average, returning to the levels of the winter surge of six months ago. But health officials’ focus on children adds urgency to the situation as the US education system nears the start of the school year.
Collins said her advice to parents of school-age children is to “think of masks the way they should be thought of.”
He added: “This is not a political statement or an invasion of your freedoms. This is a life-saving medical device. And asking kids to wear a mask is awkward, but, you know, kids are pretty tough. We know that children under the age of 12 are likely to be infected and if we don’t have masks in schools, this virus will spread more widely. “
The alternative, he said, “will likely result in outbreaks in schools and children will have to go back to remote learning, which is the only thing we really want to prevent.”
Warning that the virtual learning that children have experienced for more than a year is “really bad for their development,” Collins urged that “we should do everything we can to make sure they can get back into the classroom.” And the best way to do that is to make sure students, staff, and everyone wear masks. “
The president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, went further and called for vaccine mandates for teachers. “As a matter of personal conscience, I think we have to work with our employers, not oppose them, on vaccine mandates,” he said. Meet the NBC press.
Weingarten’s comments are an advance on the union’s previous position in which he argued that teachers should be prioritized for vaccines, but fell short of endorsing a mandate. That change was anticipated last week when Weingarten said he would consider supporting vaccine mandates to keep students and staff safe and schools open.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, also echoed Weingarten’s comments Sunday, saying the best way to protect children from the virus is to “surround them with people who can get vaccinated, whoever they are. . Teachers, school personnel, anyone, get vaccinated ”.
Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb also weighed in on the concerns, saying that schools are not “inherently safe” from the Delta variant and that society “cannot expect the same outcome we saw before regarding the schools where they were largely able to control large outbreaks in schools with a different set of behaviors. “
“The challenge right now is that the infection is going to start to collide with the opening of the school. And we have seen that schools can become sources of community transmission when it comes to more communicable strains, ”said Gottleib. CBS’s Face the Nation.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism