The Delta variant of the COVID 19 virus is causing breakthrough infections among vaccinated people at an alarming rate and raveging the unvaccinated population with a vengence.
With schools ready to start in the fall, Revere Public Schools (RPS) and the rest of the world are heading into uncharted territory with pediatric cases on the rise due to no vaccine being available for children under the age of 12.
According to a study released by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) children now account for 15 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. but only 14.3 percent of children became infected with the virus when the pandemic first started in March 2020.
The study also found that there were 94,000 new infections among kids over the past week. Considering only 4.3 million have been infected with the virus since the start of the pandemic, the 94,000 cases in a week represents an alarming spread among children with a new school year on the horizon.
Last week RPS Superintendent Dr. Diane Kelly updated parents and staff on new COVID protocols for the remainder of summer school as the City of Revere posted its highest daily case count since mid-May less than two weeks ago.
“As you know, we have been working closely with the Revere Board of Health throughout the entire COVID pandemic,” said Kelly. “Our summer school policies and practices were based on guidance from The Revere Board of Health that considered transmission rates in Revere at the beginning of summer. In conjunction with the Revere Board of Health, we decided to follow Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guidance at that time and only strongly encouraged mask wearing for those that are unvaccinated in our school community.”
However, now that COVID positivity rates are increasing throughout the country with Revere being no exception RPS has decided to take action and update COVID protocols.
“The average daily positivity rates have trended upwards over the course of the last two weeks,” said Kelly. “Given this change, we reassessed our current policies to protect our students and staff. The Revere Board of Health is now advising that we adopt current Centers for Disease Control guidance regarding mask-wearing indoors.”
As of last week all students and staff must wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. Kelly also encouraged families, students and staff to take the necessary safety protocols for the remainder of the summer.
“Stay home if you are not feeling well and students and staff who develop any COVID-symptoms should stay home and get tested immediately,” said Kelly. “Wash hands thoroughly throughout the day and use hand sanitizer that is readily available in the school Buildings.”
Kelly added that anyone who is not vaccinated should call the Revere Deparmtent of Public Health at 781-485-8486 or visit https://www.revere.org/departments/public-health-division/vaccine.
“If you are interested in receiving a vaccine, please call,” she said. “All members of our community are encouraged to talk to a trusted medical professional–primary care provider or trusted nurse–when making a decision about receiving the vaccinated.”
The CDC is still studying the effects of the Delta variant on the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, especially children.
Dr. Mark Kline, the physician in chief of Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, which has some of the highest COVID infections among children, told ABC’s Good Morning America, “We are hospitalizing record numbers of children. Half of the children in our hospital today are under two years of age. Most of the others are between five and ten years of age—too young to be vaccinated just yet.”
Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, has warned that children will soon become the “main vectors of virus spread” because they are the “remaining population ineligible for the vaccine.”
This, many health experts warn, could cause the Delta variant to smolder among children populations across the country and lead to new mutations of the virus as it jumps from children to unvaccinated adults. This may set the stage for yet another mutation of COVID 19 that can ultimately become vaccine resistant.