Washington, Aug 8 (EFE).- The United States has set a new record of 1,450 children hospitalized for Covid-19, the director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, reported on Sunday.
In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Collins said that the country never should have gotten to this point amid the resurgence of coronavirus cases being caused by the so-called Delta variant.
“How did we get here? Why is it that a mandate about a vaccine or wearing a mask suddenly becomes a statement of your political party? “We never should have let that happen. And come on, America. We can separate these, can’t we?” said Collins.
“This is not a political statement or an invasion of your liberties,” Collins said. “This is a lifesaving medical device. And asking kids to wear a mask is uncomfortable, but you know kids are pretty resilient.”
“We know that kids under 12 are likely to get infected and if we don’t have masks in schools, this virus will spread more widely,” he continued. “It will probably result in outbreaks in schools and kids will have to go back to remote learning, which is the one thing we really want to prevent.”
Collins added that the US is paying a “terrible price” given the rapid rise in case numbers, especially among unvaccinated people.
He said that almost all the deaths from Covid these days are among unvaccinated people, adding that these people are generally younger than during earlier waves of the virus and include children.
He said that the US is experiencing its largest number of children hospitalized with Covid since the pandemic began – 1,450 patients, and many of them are younger than age 12 and so are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.
Collins said that health authorities do not yet have any rigorous data showing that the Delta variant is more serious for young people, but he added that he is listening to doctors who are worried that the new spike in infections includes more children and they are becoming more seriously ill.
Meanwhile, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that 90 percent of the teachers in that union have been vaccinated and admitted that the organization is evaluating whether to reconsider its policy, announced in October 2020, about voluntary vaccination of its members.
She said that she thinks the circumstances have “changed” and that vaccination is a “responsibility” of the community, adding that it greatly concerns her that children under age 12 cannot yet be vaccinated.
She added that there are significant religious and medical objections and exemptions to being vaccinated but said that she feels it is important to take them into account when crafting the organization’s policy on the vaccines, and she gave as an example the decision of President Joe Biden that people may elect to either get themselves immunized or to take regular Covid-19 tests to ensure they are not asymptomatic carriers of the virus.
“As a matter of personal conscience we need to be working with employers on vaccine mandates,” Weingarten said, adding that the combination of vaccines and masks will protect the youngest US children, adding that it is important to work with parents to ensure that they recognize that and follow through on it.
On the same television program, the US government’s top epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, reiterated that there will be no federal mandate obligating everyone to get vaccinated against Covid.
However, he said that the US Food and Drug Administration is going to fully approved the vaccines that are currently authorized for emergency use, something that he said could occur in the coming weeks. In the meantime, many companies and private entities could be announcing that they will require their employees to be vaccinated.