(Trends Wide) — The increasing cases of covid-19, and the ever-increasing proportion reported in children, are causing many health experts to worry about the outlook as the school year progresses across the country.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci said there shouldn’t be a big increase “if we get it right.”
“We have to put masks in the school system in addition to surrounding children with vaccinated people,” said the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. “That is the solution”.
In Miami-Dade County Public Schools, 13 school employees have died from COVID-19 since Aug. 16, the school district and local teachers union told Trends Wide. The 13 – three teachers, a security monitor, a cafeteria worker and seven school bus drivers – were not vaccinated, they said.
“I think this underscores the great tragedy that we see happening across the United States,” Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said Tuesday.
“Although in my community, 98% of people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, there is still a specific delay for people who represent ethnic minorities in Miami-Dade.”
The 13 school employees who died were black and unvaccinated, according to their families, Carvalho said.
Since mandatory vaccination orders are illegal in Florida, the best Carvalho can do is offer incentives for teachers to get fully vaccinated, including a $ 275 stipend to any employee who presents proof of vaccination, he said.
Schools, particularly in the south of the country, began their new year in August and many districts, particularly those without measures to wear masks, saw an explosion of cases.
Doctors and experts warn that it could happen again when students in much of the rest of the country return to school after Labor Day weekend, unless strong measures are taken to keep the virus under control.
Fauci emphasized that masks in schools and vaccinations for those eligible are crucial.
While officials believe the federal government is limited to requiring vaccines across the board, President Joe Biden is expected to deliver a major speech this week on the next phase of the pandemic, which will include components related to schools, private companies. and the requirements for federal employees. Two sources familiar with the speech told Trends Wide.
Before the speech, data from the Gallup poll on Tuesday showed that more Americans now disagree than agree that Biden and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention communicated a clear plan of action in response to the covid-19.
The speech also comes as the impact of the pandemic on schools becomes clearer.
Children now account for 26.8% of weekly COVID-19 cases, according to new data released Tuesday. Over two weeks, from August 19 to September 2, there was a 10% increase in the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in children since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Reinforcements go to hospitals
Lagging vaccination rates and increasing numbers of cases are putting pressure on health care systems in many states.
In Kentucky, hospitals are facing a critical shortage of staff and are on the brink of the need for ICU beds, Governor Andy Beshear said Tuesday, forcing the closure of some operating rooms to create ICU centers and more beds for Address the influx of Covid-19 patients.
The state has stepped in to help by providing COVID-19 testing through third-party providers that are installed outside of hospitals, freeing up hospital emergency room staff and physicians to prioritize other health care needs for the community, Beshear said.
The governor said he also requested teams from FEMA and has deployed a team of nurses to St. Claire Regional Medical Center, which has been overwhelmed in dealing with the influx of Covid-19 patients.
Less than half of Kentucky’s population is fully vaccinated against the virus, according to CDC data.
Reinforcements are also on the way for healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients in Idaho, Arkansas and Alabama.
Each state will have a 20-person US Army Northern (ARNORTH) team that includes nurses, respiratory therapists and physicians. Six teams have already been deployed, with three teams in Louisiana, two in Mississippi and one in Alabama.
“This is the first time that Defense Department medical resources have been deployed to support both Idaho and Arkansas during the pandemic,” said ARNORTH Commander Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson. “We are proud that we are being asked to support our local, state and federal partners there, and in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, in this government-wide response.”
New data on the unvaccinated
The best protection against hospitalizations, health experts have emphasized, is vaccination.
Data from local health departments in Utah, Virginia, and Seattle’s King County suggest that unvaccinated people are at least four times, and up to nine times, more likely than vaccinated people to test positive for coronavirus, and that gap has increased in recent years. weeks.
About 53.2% of all Americans are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data. Those numbers are not yet where experts say they need to be to protect the majority of Americans.
In August, the FDA authorized an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine for certain immunosuppressed people. And as the effort to vaccinate the entire population continues, officials are now preparing to launch booster doses for a larger population.
The boosters do not indicate anything is wrong with the first two doses, Fauci said Tuesday. Rather, the third dose can simply be part of a complete vaccine regimen.
The White House is expected to launch its backup plan the week of September 20. At that time, up to 5.2 million people may be eligible to receive their third dose.
The plan is to allow a third dose starting eight months after a person receives the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccines, although the timing could vary.
It’s unclear when the timing will be for a second dose of the single-dose J&J vaccine, which was received by more than 14 million people, according to the CDC.
“That could be two doses for a J&J, but for mRNA, we know from studies that are already underway in Israel now, that when the degree of protection against infections and even serious diseases drops to a certain precarious level, when Si gives you to the person that third impulse, drastically increases the level of protection, “said Fauci.
“Even more than before the boost, it goes up and over the protection level.”
– Jacqueline Howard, Virginia Langmaid, Kaitlan Collins, Elizabeth Stuart, Carma Hassan, and Trends Wide’s Leslie Perrot and Deidre McPhillips contributed to this report.