How Can Parents, Educators Protect Unvaccinated Kids From The Delta Variant?
Texas students are headed back to school, with the majority returning for in-person instruction. Students 12 years and younger are still not yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and remain vulnerable to "a coalescence of vectors" as new delta cases and hospitalizations spike throughout rural and urban areas of the state.
According to an analysis of state-level data by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association, nearly 4.3 million kids tested positive for COVID-19 between the onset of the pandemic and August 5 of this year, representing 14.3% of all reported U.S. cases.
AAP's analysis shows U.S. child COVID-19 cases have steadily increased since the beginning of July, with nearly 94,000 reported last week alone.
A top doctor at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston said they've seen more than 15,000 child COVID-19 cases this year and of those, “about 10% of those children do end up hospitalized and roughly a third of those hospitalized do end up in critical care."
On Tuesday, San Antonio local governments sued to overturn Abbott's mask mandate ban for local governments and school districts, citing the need for a city/county masking directive to cope with an emergency and protect students returning to area classrooms. The same afternoon, a district court judge granted a temporary restraining order against the state's ban on local mask requirements.
What should parents and educators need to know and do to keep their kids and students safe from more contagious variants? What are the biggest challenges for preventing transmission among unvaccinated children in schools and beyond?
What do we know about how well kids' immune systems perform against COVID-19? Is Delta more dangerous for children than previous variants? How often should kids be tested, especially those returning to school for in-person instruction?
What should you do if your child does get COVID? How likely are they to get severely ill or experience so-called "long COVID"?
What is the latest news about when a COVID-19 vaccine will be available for children 12 and younger?
How can parents and educators help kids cope with pandemic-related emotions like fear, confusion, anger and sadness?
- Seth D. Kaplan, MD, pediatrics specialist and president of the Texas Pediatric Society
- Quianta Moore, MD, JD, fellow in child health policy at the Baker Institute for Public Policy
- Norman Christopher, MD, chief medical officer and VP of pediatric emergency services at the Children's Hospital of San Antonio
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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, August 11.