More debates are deepening surrounding announcements mandating masks as many children test positive for the COVID-19.
Florida International University’s infectious disease expert, Dr. Aileen Marty said that Florida is overburdened with children contracting coronavirus and the children’s hospitals are overwhelmed. Florida tops maximum cases after Louisiana. Marty told CNN that the number of children getting admitted to the hospital is terrifying.
She said that the pediatricians, the staff, and nurses are exhausted and as the kids continue to suffer and it is devastating. She said that the children are highly affected and these numbers have never been seen before. She noted that Miami’s Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is full of COVID-19 patients by 116%.
Will Schools Mandate Masks?
The concerning rise of coronavirus cases fueled by the highly contagious delta variant spreads even further as the schools are reopening. This makes sure children come in close proximity with each other, unlike virtual classrooms that ensured their safety. And yet, state officials have not mandated masks, and local districts can make their own rules.
Despite Gov Greg Abbott prohibiting mask mandates, the Houston Independent School District is thinking about mandating masks from August 23. The HISD Superintendent of Millard House said that they proposed mask mandates. This mandate is for students, faculty, and staff members and for visitors as well as buses and transport facilities.
The measure will be mandated after the school boards approve it. This move comes after the rising threat of coronavirus. The threat becomes severe after the news of an 11-month-old girl who tested positive required to be airlifted from Houston to a hospital 150 miles away. This happened because there were no beds for children in the Houston area. The girl whose name is Ava Amira Rivera is stable and will not require intubation.
The dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College, Dr. Peter Hotez, said that they are beginning to see huge numbers of young people and kids piling up in pediatric ICUs. It was much lower last summer.
As the numbers keep on rising in Florida, its Gov Ron DeSantis has asked the state health and education department to not form preventive measures and local mask mandates for schools. His order came after several schools wanted to issue a mask mandate. This is made to assure parents’ choice about whether or not they want their kids to wear masks. Eight lawsuits have been filed against him.
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The Orange County Public Schools on Friday announced mandatory masks for all students. If not, their parents can opt out of their children. Everyone including employees, volunteers, and visitors is required to wear masks.
Head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said that these efforts are made so that children can return to school safely. She said that the places where the infection is highest are not taking preventive measures. They are not mandating masks. All the places whose hospitals are piling up are the places that lack preventive steps. If people are masking up and doing everything for preventive, then there will be no transmission and school will be a safe place for children, said Walensky.
The CDC has not yet given approval to any vaccine for children under 12 years of age. 50% of the total American population remains unvaccinated. Health experts like Hotez and Marty believe that regardless of vaccination status, mitigation efforts should be implemented.
There also comes news about possible booster doses of vaccination. Two officials of the FDA will review the additional doses. It is possible that the boosters will be given to people with health conditions, older adults, and people with a compromised immune system.