(WXYZ) — The average daily cases of COVID-19 are 12 times higher than when summer first began. And with students back in the classrooms, will case numbers climb even higher?
I find this question very concerning, especially since children now make up 26.8% of weekly COVID-19 cases. That’s more than a quarter of our cases nationwide. Now the schools that saw case numbers explode in August were mostly in the South.
And here’s the thing, many of these schools did not require masks or have proper mitigation measures in place. So it’s really no surprise to me that tens of thousands of students, teachers, and school personnel ended up being quarantined. And it didn’t take long for this to happen. Because the delta variant is so very contagious, some schools had to close a week after school started because of infections. And that’s why physicians like myself, and health experts across the nation, are sounding the alarm. It’s imperative that schools take action to stop the spread of this extremely contagious virus or we are going to see a lot more outbreaks in our schools.
Prevention measures in schools are one part of the solution. So wearing masks, making sure buildings are properly ventilated, and maintaining 3 feet of physical distancing are just a few of the CDC’s key mitigation measures. But how effective these are also depends on two other factors, one of them is community transmission rates. The higher the cases in the surrounding community, the more risk for children to pick it up. Another factor that goes hand in hand with community transmission rates is vaccination rates. The lower the vaccination rates in the community, the higher the cases for COVID. And there's data to back this up.
A recent study looked at the number of kids hospitalized in August. And guess what, the numbers were four times higher in states with low vaccination rates. On top of that, another new study found that in July, adolescents that were not vaccinated were hospitalized at a rate of 10 times higher compared to adolescents that did get the shots. So this is really good news for COVID vaccines.
As I said earlier, school prevention measures are one part of the solution. The other is getting vaccinated against COVID. Will these two prevention measures stop the virus 100%? No. But together they can help to protect our children and greatly reduce the chance of them getting seriously sick.
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