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Exacerbation of delta mutations raises alerts and questions for parents of unvaccinated children | National

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Los Angeles — New evidence of the ability of the delta mutant to infect and spread even among fully vaccinated people is of particular concern to parents of infants who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Many parents who thought their children had a limited risk of getting the coronavirus are now reassessing their position. Health experts said parents need to pay particular attention to the highly contagious variants that are causing the epidemic in Los Angeles County and many other parts of the country.

However, some have emphasized that it is important to keep risk in line with the situation. He added that children can return to school if appropriate precautions are taken.

“Children need to go to school,” said Julie Swan, a medical systems engineer at North Carolina State University. “Our people who experienced last year know that.”

Dr. Catherine Williamson, a pediatrician at Orange County, said in recent weeks there has been an increase in cases of coronavirus among younger patients and an increase in parents vaccination of eligible children. .. Delta variant.

“Parents need to make sure that when an unvaccinated child is in the family, they are doing everything they can to keep the child safe,” Williamson said.

Nevertheless, the risk of serious illness in people vaccinated with COVID-19 remains low, and the rates of infection, hospitalization, and death are much higher in those who have not been vaccinated.

According to Williamson, it is still possible to continue to protect young people with appropriate guidelines and increased immunization among qualified individuals.

“Children are as safe as the people around them,” she said.

Delta mutants were already known to be more infectious than the original coronavirus, but a new report of 469 outbreaks in Massachusetts found that 74% of infections were fully vaccinated. It was in. A confidential report produced by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also summarized other annoying signs that this variant would spread more easily among fully vaccinated people than previously thought.

Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and children between the ages of 12 and 17 are still late for taking shots.

With the rise of the Delta variant, changes have skyrocketed in recent weeks, from new testing and vaccination requirements for federal, city and state employees to the resurgence of previously abandoned mask guidelines.

Jonathan Strauss, who lives in West Hollywood, has two children, five and two, and said, “It’s okay if the indoor mask requirements come back.”

The family recently met a vaccinated unmasked man at an ice cream shop and said he was unaware that children under the age of 12 were not yet vaccinated.

“My number one thing to reinforce others is that there are still many members of the community who are not vaccinated due to age or health reasons, and they are theoretically vaccinated. It can infect other people, “Strauss said.

Despite the risks, he and his wife do not prevent the school from opening in the fall, as long as the increasing number of cases in LA County is enthusiastic about masking, testing, and other safety procedures. I hope that.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced that all students and employees, whether vaccinated or not, should be tested for coronavirus weekly.

Many health professionals said it still made sense to proceed with the school reopening plan.

Swan recently released a report that found that an additional 70% of children could become infected with the coronavirus within three months without masking at school. According to her survey, 40% of elementary school children are expected to become infected within three months, even if masking is required at all schools.

Even with that knowledge, she said the school needed to implement additional mitigation strategies and reopen in the 2021-22 academic year.

“Schools, counties and states can also increase their population and community testing, which also helps delay the spread of the disease,” she said.

As the delta variant spreads, public health officials continue to pay attention to the number of vaccinations that remain terribly low among adolescents.

“It’s clear that young people in Los Angeles County have much lower vaccination rates and more chances of mixing than older people,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a press conference Thursday. rice field.

The biggest gap remains not only among young people, but also among colored young people.

According to data presented by Feller, only 24% of blacks and 33% of Latin Americans between the ages of 12 and 15 have at least one time compared to 50% of whites and 76% of Asians in that age group. I received a shot of.

According to Feller, about 50% of teens aged 12 to 17 in Los Angeles County have been vaccinated at least once, compared to about 70% of the county’s total population.

Feller said there were signs that the coronavirus surge was stable, and that test positive rates were beginning to level off. However, the positive rate of 5.17% is much higher than June 15, which was below 1%.

“There are nearly 4 million inhabitants throughout the county that have not yet been vaccinated,” Ferrer said. “This risk of increase spreading from this subspecies within our county remains high.”

Not all parents are eager to send their children back to school.

Deborah Poppink, 57, from Marvista, one of the kids likes to study at home and the other looks forward to returning to the theater class, but how it works with masks. I said I don’t know.

Pop Pink, a former LAUSD teacher, is also dissatisfied with the district’s new weekly testing obligation, which essentially requires vaccinated families to carry the weight of unvaccinated families. I’m waiting.

“If everyone is vaccinated, no weekly tests are needed,” she said. She also said there was still a lack of guidance on when and where the tests would take place and how school-related activities such as carpooling, sports teams and parents visiting the campus would fit.

“I think this is a public health crisis and I think it will get worse rather than better,” she said. “Children don’t intend to keep their masks all day long. They usually like to sneak into the bathroom and smoke e-cigarettes and do what they do.”

Her daughter, Delilah, 16, said she was less worried about herself than her fellow unvaccinated students.

“There is no way to know who has been vaccinated, so there is no way to protect unvaccinated children,” she said.

Pediatricians continue to be concerned about the spread of the delta variant, and Williamson states that parents should avoid dating unvaccinated people, including their families.

Dr. Gregory Poland, an immunologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said continuous outbreaks are probably inevitable.

As unvaccinated children prepare to flock again in the classroom and on the bus, the surge in infectious diseases associated with reopening schools is “impossible,” he said.

However, most experts say that a “safe and sane” approach to the COVID-19 protocol should eliminate at least some of the risks, along with more adults who play their part in getting vaccinated. I agreed to be there.

Dr. Eric Ball, a pediatrician at Orange County Primary Care Network Children’s Hospital, said:

Like Williamson, balls have seen an increase in coronavirus-positive patients in recent weeks, with the majority of infections among unvaccinated teenagers and children who are too young to be vaccinated. You can see it. He said the cases are manifested in a variety of ways, from infants with cold-like symptoms to older children who are “quite ill.”

He said the feelings of fear and sadness he experienced last year caused frustration as adults could do more to prevent the current surge.

He also said that most school teachers and adults should be vaccinated and that almost all middle and high school students now have the opportunity to be shot.

“So that should really be our push at this point,” Ball said. “To ensure that as many people as possible are vaccinated to protect children who are too young to be vaccinated.”

(Times staff writer Melissa Healy contributed to this report.)

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© 2021 Los Angeles Times.Please visit latimes.com.. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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