Nashville, TN

Tennessee doctors urge leaders to consider kids first in the latest wave of COVID

Lenny Schumacher

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NASHVILLE, TN — As hospitalization due to the COVID-19-has quadrupled in Tennessee since July 4, Tennessee doctors are urging the state to take more aggressive action in stopping the rise of cases by COVID new Delta variant.

Among those hospitalized because of COVID, only a few of them are elderly since most of them are vaccinated and counted as the highest receiver of vaccination rates.

“These patients are skewing younger this time,” says Dr. Katrina Green, who works in emergency departments in Nashville and Lawrenceburg. “The problem is that we’ve stalled out on our vaccinations for younger people.”

The state has suspended outreach efforts on giving teenagers vaccines for several weeks due to concerns from Republican legislators that teens were forced to get the COVID vaccines. Currently, the efforts on vaccinating children have resumed, as schools for most kids will begin within the next two weeks. COVID vaccines are allowed for children aged 12 and above. Meanwhile, younger children remain to have no vaccine options for now.

From data by the American Academy of Pediatrics, 43 states have now reported fatal cases of COVID in kids, with 349 reported cases compared to 76 pediatric deaths last year.

Dr. Vidya Bansal, a Nashville pediatrician, mentioned that the current COVID situation hit more children, which was a rare case last year.

As COVID cases are on the rise, Bansal and others encourage the state to require universal masking in schools, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gov. Bill Lee has left the decision to local school districts, and currently, all schools, including Metro Nashville Public Schools, plan to make masking optional until further notice.

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