“Our kids who cannot get vaccinated, they depend on us being vaccinated to protect them from the spread of the virus. We are their shields,” Murthy said. “Even if you don’t want to do it for yourself, consider getting vaccinated to protect the children in your community. They are depending on us.” Even if parents are vaccinated, wearing a mask in areas of high transmission risk is “the right thing to do,” he said. Murthy — the father of two children, ages 3 and 4 — said he takes such precautions because “I want to take every possible measure to protect my child.” Pediatrics association recommends masks in schools
“I am heartbroken to see just how hard (physicians are) working — how exhausted they are,” Murthy said. “Many of them are suffering with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation, as a result of the stress that they have endured during this pandemic.” Already some hospitals are again being overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients, Murthy said.
Murthy urged Americans to get vaccinated — if not for themselves then for health care workers who need protection from burnout and children who are not yet eligible for the protection provided by the vaccine. Amid rising Covid-19 metrics and the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, more than half of the US is not yet fully vaccinated, according to the CDC, an obstacle that has become increasingly worrisome to health experts as resistance to vaccination rises with the spread of misinformation. If many of those who are holding out do not get inoculated, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the US can expect a “smoldering” outbreak for “a considerable period of time.”
On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidance for schools that supports in-person learning and recommends universal masking in schools for everyone over the age of 2. “The AAP believes that, at this point in the pandemic, given what we know about low rates of in-school transmission when proper prevention measures are used, together with the availability of effective vaccines for those age 12 years and up, that the benefits of in-person school outweigh the risks in all circumstances,” the guidance said. “However,” she added, “for some families, particularly those with children or family members who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or who cannot get vaccinated, those families might be more comfortable with a remote option this fall.”
Most children are at a lower risk than adults for severe disease from Covid-19, and the benefits of learning in a classroom outweigh the risks, said Dr. Greta Massetti, a member of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 Emergency Response. In addition to protecting children from infection, many experts and officials have stressed the importance of getting them safely back into the classroom.
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