More than 1,900 children are in hospitals — particularly in the South — due to the highly contagious Delta variant.
As school has kicked off in many states and with others soon to follow, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has made a grim announcement: the number of children in America currently hospitalized with COVID-19 has hit a record high.
More than 1,900 children are in hospitals — particularly in the South — due to the transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus.
The variant has been ravaging unvaccinated Americans, with children being especially vulnerable as the three vaccines have not been approved for use in those under the age of 12. Children represent 2.4% of all hospitalized Americans.
“This is not last year’s COVID,” Sally Goza, the former head of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told CNN per Reuters. “This one is worse, and our children are the ones that are going to be affected by it the most.”
LaToya Feltus holds the hand of her 13-year-old daughter, Amya (center), after she receives a COVID-19 vaccination dose at a clinic operated by DePaul Community Health Center last week in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Despite rampant numbers in southern states, many of the region’s leaders have continued to refuse to mandate masks in schools. Several Republican governors have banned districts from imposing such rules. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has banned its schools from mask mandates, however, one county, Broward, has defied the governor.
Area school board leader Rosalind Osgood told Face the Nation the county is “living out the nightmare of the Covid pandemic, where so many people in our county, including members of our staff and others, are being impacted.” Two teachers and a teacher’s aide have recently died from complications of the virus.
Federal authorities have notified Broward County that despite threats of cuts to its funding by the state, schools can use funds from pandemic relief measures to replace salaries.
“It was very encouraging,” Osgood noted, “to get the support of the White House during this very, very difficult time that we find ourselves in.”
On Friday, Mississippi’s Governor Tate Reeves said at a press conference, “I don’t have any intention of issuing a statewide mask mandate for any category of Mississippians at this time. I don’t know how I can say that differently other than the way I’ve said it repeatedly for a number of days and weeks and months.”
In Texas, its Republican governor, Greg Abbott, is appealing to the state’s Supreme Court to overturn a mask mandate enacted by Dallas County Independent School District, contradicting his order that schools may not mandate mask-wearing.
The National Education Association, America’s largest teachers’ union, has come out in support of mandatory vaccination for its members. As reported by Reuters, NEA President Becky Pringle told CNN, “students under 12 can’t get vaccinated. It’s our responsibility to keep them safe. Keeping them safe means that everyone who can be vaccinated should be vaccinated.”
“Nearly 90% of NEA members report that they are fully vaccinated,” Pringle recently wrote on Twitter, “demonstrating educators’ belief in the essential role vaccines play in the safety of our school communities.”
“Educators,” she added, “must have a voice in how vaccine requirements are implemented to ensure that students and educators are able to enjoy safe, uninterrupted, in-person education.”
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