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‘History will repeat itself’: Delta variant brings concern as students head back to school

Published: Aug. 8, 2021 at 10:42 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2021 at 6:59 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE/WKYT/CNN) - A lot of concern coming from parents, kids, educators, and the medical community as the Delta variant continues to spread. A growing number of children and teens are getting COVID.

The Delta variant is more contagious and children are a big target. Concerning news as students have already started school in some districts or are getting ready to go back.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said that while severe illness appears to be rare among children infected with the coronavirus, more than 71,000 children and teens caught COVID-19 last week. That’s up 84 percent from the previous week and five times as many cases as the end of June.

“We’re really concerned with the Delta variant taking control that we’re going to see a substantial increase over the next few weeks, with school reopening’s being a major catalyst,” Dr. Heather Haq, Pediatric Hospitalist at Texas Children’s Hospital said.

As a debate over masks continues to heat up, a new poll reveals 55 percent of Americans surveyed support the CDC’s recommendation that all public school students staff and teachers wear masks in school, regardless of vaccination status. 41 percent of those polled called it a bad idea.

Parents like Rachel Godby said masking and the COVID vaccine are a good idea. Her oldest, 15-year-old Caiden, is vaccinated. The rest of her children are too young to get the shot.

Godby said she’s sent emails to her children’s daycare center in Estill County, Kentucky, asking them to reconsider making masks a requirement for employees.

“My children enjoy daycare, they like to go,” Godby told WKYT. “They have a great time there and learn a lot of things so, you kind of don’t want to interrupt their routine a whole lot.”

The working mom and nurse practitioner said she’s worried history will repeat itself, with schools and daycares having to possibly close again.

Dr. Scottie Day from Kentucky Children’s Hospital, said if schools and daycares don’t follow proper protocols and vaccination doesn’t increase, things could get rough again.

“There will be so many people out with the virus that they’ll have to cancel,” Day said.

Godby said she wants Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to make formal recommendations for wearing masks at daycare. Beshear has pushed for all public indoor places to require masks.

Right now, the states with the fewest 12 to 17-year-olds vaccinated are Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Wyoming and Tennessee.

If your child is too young to be vaccine-eligible, doctors offer this advice.

“Masking and distancing and grouping in very small groups will prevent exposure and spread,” Dr. William Lennarz, System Chair Of Pediatrics at Ochsner Hospital For Children said.

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