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Health expert speaks on COVID-19 concerns for upcoming school year

((Source: KAIT-TV))
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 3:12 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Louisiana health officials warn the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is swirling around the state and they are starting to see more COVID-19 outbreaks among young children.

According to CNN, if vaccination rates remain low, kids 12 and under will be impacted the most. The CDC also projects 2,100 to 11,000 new hospital admissions.

Pediatric and Infectious Disease specialist Dr. Joseph Bocchini is urging parents to get children 12 and older vaccinated before going back to school. He also stresses the importance of parents getting vaccinated to help keep younger children healthy as they cannot yet get the vaccine.

“The delta variant is spread much more easily than the prior types of COVID that have circulated through the community. So we expect that more children are likely to become infected because the virus spreads so easily,” he said.

In Louisiana, the BESE board is leaving the decision of mask mandates up to schools. Dr. Bocchini said the issue is that those who are not vaccinated can be impacted by kids who might be asymptomatic.

“Even though children generally have milder cases of COVID, when they have it there are some children that get very ill, and there are some children who are hospitalized. And it’s rare, but they do have occasional kids who die of COVID. In fact, over 300 children died of COVID in the past year and so that’s much higher than even bad influenza season. This is a terrible virus even for children,” he said.

Shelly Barbers says her daughter is going to kindergarten and she plans to teach her how to protect herself beforehand.

“I am teaching her how important it is to try to wear your mask and to keep it on. I know with kids it’s hard because they gone leave it on for so long. Hopefully she will grasp it,” she said.

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