A recent report from the Department Of Health And Human Services revealed that a startling number of younger children are becoming infected with the highly transmissible Delta Variant, and as students gear up to return to school in the fall, authorities fear that the number could increase.
On August 14, the organization reported nearly 1902 confirmed and suspected pediatric cases of COVID-19 throughout the U.S, Reuters notes. In addition to the unvaccinated, the powerful strain now appears to be impacting young adults and children. For children, in particular, lower vaccination rates could attribute to the rise in cases. Children younger than 12 are still not eligible to receive the vaccine which could leave them more susceptible to becoming infected.
Sally Goza a former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics told CNN, “This is not last year’s COVID. This one is worse and our children are the ones that are going to be affected by it the most.”
However, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said during an episode of the ‘Skimm This’ Podcast that this might not be for long. When asked about the possibility of a vaccine becoming available to kids under 12 within the next school year, Murphy replied that the “odds are high.”
Murthy added that family’s with young children who have not been vaccinated yet should steer clear from doing too many activities in close quarters with individuals. The U.S. official said he will be sticking to public dining as he has two young children who have not been inoculated against the virus yet.
“I’m probably going to do some outdoor dining,” Murthy shared. “I’ve got two small kids at home who are not vaccinated. So I tend to be cautious about indoor settings.”
“I wear masks when I’m indoors, and if I’ve got to take my mask off a lot, then I try to avoid settings like that.”
According to the Department Of Health, “children currently make up about 2.4% of the nation’s COVID-19 hospitalizations.”
Schools districts in Florida, Texas and Arizona have issued mask mandates, defying Republican state governors who have imposed strict bans on such rules. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has threatened to withhold funding from districts that impose mask requirements, while Texas Governor Greg Abbott is in the process of appealing the state Supreme Court to overturn Dallas County’s mask mandate.