Schools across the country are urging officials to impose strict mask mandates as kids slowly begin to return to school for the Fall semester. With the highly transmissible Delta Variant on the rise, an alarming number of COVID-19 cases have been reported, a majority of those cases are impacting children 11 or younger, as the age group isn’t eligible yet to receive the vaccine.
According to CNN, “more than 500,000 children tested positive for Covid-19 in the U.S. from August 5 to August 26.” Furthermore, around 203,962 of those cases were reported during the week of August 19 to August 26.
“The virus is raging in all these children who are unvaccinated, which is why in schools mask mandates are so important,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner told Jake Tapper last week, pointing out that inoculation rates are also low among adolescents who are eligible. “They have no other protection. They’re literally sitting ducks.”
Back in August, cities like Los Angeles and New Orleans issued indoor mask mandates to help combat the sudden surge of COVID-19 cases, but the policies were not strictly enforced. However, New York released a mandatory vaccine policy for all public schools, initially offering no test-out option for unvaccinated employees, the report notes. On August 31, Gov. Kathy Hochul rolled out new plans to require unvaccinated staff to undergo weekly testing.
“We all need to remain vigilant to protect each other – and that means coming in to get your shot and booster shot, wearing masks in indoor spaces, and exercising basic safety measures that we are all familiar with by now,” Hochul said in a statement.
The CDC is working fast to uncover new data that will help to lower the vaccination eligibility range from its current requirement of 12 and up.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve or authorize the vaccines in younger children first, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky noted. Vaccine makers like Pfizer and Moderna are required to present the data from their clinical trials to the FDA.
“Everybody is looking at this with urgency. Everyone recognizes how important it is for those children to have access to vaccines,” Walensky said during a National Parent Teacher Association town hall on September 1.