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US coronavirus: Young children will pay the price if not enough US adults are vaccinated against Covid-19, expert says

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dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccinologist and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday that if vaccination coverage in adults and children ages 12 and older continues to lag behind the increased spread of the virus , the youngest members of the population will be most affected.

“Transmission will continue to accelerate… and the ones that will also pay the price, in addition to the unvaccinated adolescents, are the small children who depend on the adults and adolescents to get vaccinated to slow or stop transmission. “

In 46 states, the number of new cases in the past week is at least 10% higher than the number of new cases the week before, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

In Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous, cases have jumped 500% in the past month, according to the county’s latest health data.

As the number of cases increases, only 48.1% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while many may dismiss the risk of low vaccination rates for children, citing their low Covid-19 death rates, Hotez said they are still at risk for serious complications.

In Mississippi, seven children are in intensive care with Covid-19, and two are on a ventilator, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs tweeted Tuesday evening.

Many more adolescents could be hospitalized, Hotez said, adding up to 30% of infected children will develop covid long-term.

Scientists are now learning about long-range neurological consequences of covid, Hotez added. Some studies have shown effects on the brains of people infected with the virus. Found a study in April 34% of Covid-19 survivors received a diagnosis for a neurological or psychological condition within six months of their infection.

“What you’re doing is you’re condemning an entire generation of adolescents to neurological injury completely unnecessarily,” Hotez said. “It’s just absolutely heartbreaking and beyond frustrating for vaccine scientists like me to see this happen.”

Debate on vaccine mandates

While experts emphasize the importance of vaccinating a majority of Americans against the virus, some officials are debating whether or not to mandate vaccinations at the local level.

Some schools and employers have already taken measures requiring students and employees to be vaccinated before returning.

Last month, Morgan Stanley announced that unvaccinated employees, guests and customers would be banned from its New York headquarters. in April, Houston Methodist, a network of eight hospitals, said it would require all its employees to be vaccinated. Out of 26,000 employees 153 resigned or were fired as a result of refusing the vaccine.

That same month, the American College Health Association has issued a policy statement recommending Covid-19 vaccination requirements for all college and university students on campus for the upcoming fall semester, where state law and resources permit.

But many states are moving to block such requirements.

A CNN analysis found that at least seven states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma and Utah — passed legislation this year that would ban public schools from requiring either coronavirus vaccinations or documentation of vaccination status.

Such legislation is terrifying for the 48 million Americans under the age of 12, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Tuesday.

Currently, vaccines are only available in the US for people 12 years and older.

“If we start with a lens on the kids and want kids to go back to school, which we all think is the priority, then we need to get more serious about employers, schools and universities standing up and saying, ‘It’s great if you don’t want to be vaccinated, but if you don’t you really don’t have access to places where you can come in contact with people who can’t get vaccinated,” Sebelius said.

One thing the federal government can do to support vaccine mandates is to speed up the full approval of available vaccines, she said.

“Getting full approval — getting out of emergency use authorization and getting full approval — is something that will solve all the legal questions from private employers,” Sebelius said.

What peaks can mean for the school year?

Most officials and health experts have stressed the importance of students returning to school safely in the new academic year, but hesitation about vaccines could affect how districts move forward.

Only a quarter of Americans ages 12 to 15 have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to data released Tuesday by the CDC, making them the age group with the lowest vaccination coverage.

California K-12 schools were ordered Monday to expel students from campuses for refusing to wear face coverings in class, but the rules were revised just hours later to give schools more leeway in the implementation of the protocol.

Despite initial directive stating “Schools must exclude students from campus if they are not exempt from wearing a face covering underneath” [California Department of Public Health] guidelines and refuse to wear one provided by the school,” Alex Stack, the spokesman for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office, said that the intention was not to turn students away.

“The route [the guidance] written didn’t accurately reflect its intent, so it was rewritten,” Stack told CNN, acknowledging that the statement came across as “ban children” years.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city’s guidance could change as the school year approaches, but for now, families should assume that masks will still be worn in schools in September.

“We’ve been working with the CDC constantly, but we’ve been very careful in this case too, given everything the city has been through…for now, we’re sticking to the idea that, you know, wearing the masks is the smart thing to do.” thing to do in schools,” De Blasio said.

Alexandra Meeks, Lauren Mascarenhas, Deidre McPhillips, Laura Ly, Cheri Mossburg and Joe Sutton of CNN contributed to this report.

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