Increased COVID cases cause back-to-school concern

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COVID-19 cases are on the rise again due to the delta variant. But what does that mean for families preparing to send their kids back to school, especially with the governor prohibiting local school districts from mandating masks? We asked Dr. Swapna Reddy of ASU’s College of Health Solutions.

Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that all people over the age of 2 wear masks when possible.

“This is pretty relevant stuff here when we, as a nation and as a state, are certainly grappling with what type of COVID restrictions and regulations and protections we should be putting in place,” Reddy said. She added that it’s especially important for schools in which those under 12 aren’t vaccinated.

Reddy said that this comes in the wake of the CDC recommendations that were recently released, which said children who are vaccinated do not need to wear masks, be quarantined or social distance. This comes despite a lack of vaccination verification and relies on an honor system in many states.

“What we’re seeing right now is really a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Reddy said. “Last week we had a 10% increase in about 46 states of the COVID infection and we saw something similar from the week before.”

She said that while we’re seeing increased amounts of cases being reported, the same can’t be said for vaccination rates. There’s a chance of a correlation between the two.

“A lot of this is due to the delta variant, which is very real and spreads a lot faster than previous strains of COVID-19,” Reddy said. She added that kids are the most vulnerable in this instance due to their inability to be vaccinated.

Swapna Reddy, JD, DrPH, MPH, Arizona State University College of Health Solutions, Assistant Professor

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